“Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.
But because he cannot be at home in it,
because he is out of place in it,
and yet he must be in it,
His place is with the 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 of persons,
who are tortured, bombed and exterminated.
With those for whom there is no room,
Christ is present in this world.”
– Thomas Merton
This moving painting of the nativity by contemporary American artist J Kirk Richards, for me, illustrates Merton’s words beautifully. I see the beauty and glory of God hovering over the scene through the luminescence of the gilding and yet this profound, world changing moment is depicted within the ordinariness of the stable, with the roughly painted outlines of sheep and shepherds, the weak, the excluded, the Holy family themselves having experienced rejection and exclusion from the homes and inns of Bethlehem, they found a welcome in the lowliest of spaces, a stable, where the glory of the Lord shone all around them.
Do we have eyes to see the glory of the Lord shining in the most unlikely of places? Where have you seen Gods glory today?