December 24, 2009
Richmond United Church
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The Rev. Dr. George Hermanson
There we are, my brother and I, in the backseat, and the motels with their no vacancy signs. The tension is rising as we drive on and on. It was getting dark so my father decides he will go to the Banff Springs Hotel. It is beyond our price range but maybe they might have a room. No, but we can put you up in the staff house - a tent on a cold night. But the innkeeper had taken pity on us.
There we are, in Jamaica and the rooms are not there because the innkeeper did not make the family move because of death. Steve and I phone around and no rooms. Then one place says we have rooms in part of the hotel under renovations. The innkeeper had taken pity on us.
There they are, Mary and Joseph looking for shelter against the storm. And words we use every Christmas, “No room in the inn.” We have had generations of sermons that have emphasized the surface meaning of the story. We have been called upon to open our closed hearts, to prepare room for the heart of love. We have been asked to birth a generous spirit. Of course, there is truth to this metaphor. It is true that at this time of the year our hearts are touched and we do become more inclusive and welcoming of the stranger. All good stuff from those famous lines.