YOU CAN STAY WITH ME
Rev. John Kha Tran
Little Logan and his family were having Christmas dinner at grandmother’s house.
When Logan received his plate, he started eating right away.
“Logan, wait until we say our prayer,” his mother reminded him.
“I don’t need to,” the little boy replied.
“Of course, you do!” his mother insisted. “We say a prayer before eating at our house.”
“That’s at our house,” Logan explained, “but this is Grandma’s house, and she knows how to cook!” (Walter E. Welsh, Brookside Village).
Christmas is the most joyful celebration in the Church as well as in America. We shop. We decorate. We write cards. We exchange gifts. We open gifts. Today the familes get together to eat and drink. We wish one another a Merry Christmas! The source of our joy at Christmas comes from heaven. We are here to thank God for the Gift of Jesus Christ. We still hear the echoing of the angel’s voice: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord”
The word Christmas is a combination of two words: Christ and Mass. It is the Mass of Christ, or it is Christ’s Mass! So the center of this celebration is Christ. Every year when we celebrate Christmas, we listen from the Gospel of Luke: “The time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for him in the inn.”
On Christmas Day, we listen to the Gospel of St. John:
“In the beginning was the Word . . .
All things came to being through him . . .
He was in the world …
But the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
But his own people did not accept him.”
“No room for him in the inn.”
“His own people did not accept him!”
This is sad! There is no room for him. His people did not accept him.
Adam and Eve did not accept their Creator. They disobeyed Him. They closed their hearts. They did not make room for God in their lives. They chose their own path.
When Jesus came into the world; his parents could not find a place for him to be born. They had to go out in the field and stayed with the animals.
Today many places also do not have room for him. Many people do not make room for him either.
Every year, there is a debate on how our society should celebrate Christmas. Some people have been campaigning to keep Christ out of the picture. Some businesses and some judges in our country do not want to recognize the traditional greeting: MERRY CHRISTMAS! Newspapers, magazines, televisions, radios are say “Happy Holy Day” instead of Merry Christmas. They do not want to use the words CHRISTMAS TREE. They do not allow the word God or Christ or in God We Trust to be used in public gathering, in government, in schools. For the sake of being a multicultural society and for the sake of pluralism, they argue, we have to make people of other faith feel welcome in America. We do not want to offend people of other faith! We do not want to offend people of other cultures; therefore, we do away with Christ and with God. We drop our Christian identity that makes who we are and what we believe, to make other people feel welcomed! This argument does not sound right.
To unwelcome Christ in order to make other people feel welcome is and offense to God. This is counter evangelization. We cannot evangelize others if we let go of our Christian cultural heritage. The message from heaven is that the whole world should be enrolled. In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. Today, a decree also goes out from Christ that the whole world should be enrolled under the leadership of Christ. The glory of God has appeared. The words of the angel are clear, “I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David, a Savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.” Therefore, Christ is the good news of great joy, not for a group of people, but for all people.
All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be! He is the life of the human race. He is the light of the world. “The shepherds went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant. When they saw this they made known the message that had been told them about this child.” They were not afraid to offend anyone. The message of Jesus and about Jesus is the message of joy and of redemption. This message is only offending to Satan and to the devils. So please make room for Jesus.
Wally was a 7th grade student who was bigger than any of the other students in his Sunday school class. His mother had been an alcoholic when he was born, and as a result, Wally just did not have all the mental capabilities that the rest of his classmates had. But somehow he managed to get by.
Christmas time came & his class decided to put on a Christmas pageant. Since he was the biggest, Wally was selected to be the innkeeper. After all, the innkeeper is kind of a villain in the Christmas drama. So they coached Wally to be just as mean as he possibly could be.
Well, the night came for the Christmas play. And in it, Mary & Joseph came to Bethlehem, went to the Inn & knocked on its door. Wally opened the door & said: “What do you want?” just as mean & gruff as he could possibly be.
Joseph said, “We need a room. We need a place to stay tonight.”
”Well, you’ll have to stay someplace else,” said Wally, “because there’s no room here. There’s no room in the Inn.”
Joseph said, “But my wife’s expecting a baby just any time now. Isn’t there someplace where we can stay, where we are protected from the cold & where she can deliver her child?”
”No,” said Wally, “There’s no room here.”
Then suddenly there was a silence on the stage. It was one of those embarrassing moments when you know that someone has forgotten the lines. From behind the curtains you could hear the prompter saying, “Be gone! Be gone!” Wally was supposed to speak, but for some reason he had choked up & forgotten to say “Be gone!”
Finally, after he had been coached for several long seconds, Wally managed to say, “Be gone! Be gone!”
Mary & Joseph sadly turned to leave. But just as they did, Wally said, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You can stay with me.”
The director of the play was ready to pull out her hair because she knew that the whole Christmas pageant had been ruined.
But had it? Maybe Wally, better than anybody else communicated the real spirit of Christmas.
“You can stay with me!” That’s an invitation.