Some scholars suggest that there is a deeper lesson in Jesus having to be born in a stable because there was no room for him in the inn.

Ron Rolheiser, OMI

What is being stressed is not so much lack of hospitality by an innkeeper, rather it is the fact that Jesus was born outside of a city, outside of what is comfortable, outside of glamour and fame, outside of being recognized by the rich and the powerful, and beyond notice by the everyday world. Jesus was born in anonymity, poor, outside of all notice, except for family and God.

Being rejected by the city also foreshadowed his death. Jesus’ earthly life will end as it began. He will be a stranger, an outsider, crucified outside the city just as he was born outside the city.

Thomas Merton once gave a wonderful commentary on this: Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because He cannot be at home in it, because He is out of place in it, and yet must be in it, His place is with those others for whom there is no room. His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied status as persons, who are tortured, bombed, and exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in the world. He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst.

Mary gave birth to the Christ in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn. It is a comment upon what, in fact, lies deepest within human life. In essence, what it says is that it is not those who sit at the center of things, the powerful, the rich, the famous, the government leaders, the entertainment celebrities, the corporate heads, the scholars and academics, who ultimately sit at the center of life. What deepest and most meaningful inside of life lies in anonymity, unnoticed by the powerful, tenderly swaddled in faith, outside the city.

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