Well, our house isn't exactly an inn, nor is it terribly difficult to find extra room in it, but think of the title as figurative. In the flurry of last minute preparations that I need to take care of today, I have a little more shopping to add to my list. A member of our church found out about a group of African exchange students who attend her daughter's college. This group of students are currently spending their winter break in the lounge of one of the dorms on campus because the rest of the dorms are closed. (I actually find it more amazing that even one dorm on campus is open than the fact they are living in a lounge.) They are all Christians and had no one to celebrate the holiday with, so the church member decided to do something about it and find them homes to go to for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We agreed to take one of the students.
I can't even imagine hosting an 18 year old student and not having some things for him to open on Christmas Day (especially when everyone else is opening gifts), so it's off to the store I go. The trick is buying gifts for an unknown and unseen college student. I'm afraid they will, of necessity, be rather generic.
But back to my main point... making room. It is not always convenient to show Christ's love to others; to make room for them. It can cost us in time, money, and comfort. I will admit to being a little nervous about inviting an unknown entity into our family celebrations. It would certainly have been easier to say that we just couldn't do it. No one would have questioned our decision and everyone would have understood. But I also worry about letting our family life become too insular. It is very easy to become too comfortable, too concerned with cocooning within our small family group. I don't want this. I don't want our children to grow up thinking that our family is a closed entity; that there is never room for someone else. In order to teach our children this, it means that the adults need to stretch a bit as well.
This Christmas season, I ask you, is there room in your house, in your family, in your heart, for someone else? God sets the lonely in families. But in order for this to happen, the families need to both hear and actually welcome the lonely. It's not as though the lonely are difficult to find. Look around and see who you could welcome and make a part of your family. And if you're willing to broaden the idea of what your family looks like in a more permanent way, I have a wonderful 12 year old boy who would like nothing better than to have a forever family to celebrate the rest of his Christmases with.