Yesterday evening I was reflecting on the nativity as a story of displacement. Mary and Joseph are displaced from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The animals feeding-place is displaced from the manger to the floor, as the manger is commandeered as a safe, warm cot for the baby.
Can we, too, make room for Jesus by embracing – or even creating – displacement in our homes?
Here is an example. One of the things that is important to me is that, as a family, we eat sat at the table together at least once a day. I am happy for us as a family to eat at the table as and when we get to it (breakfast is generally a rolling affair); and sat in front of the TV (often on a Saturday evening); but I like to gather around the table together for one meal. This past week has been very cold, and we have done more eating off plates on our laps in the living room, simply because it is the warmest room in the house. This is not a total displacement – we do eat in there fairly regularly – but it is, nonetheless, a change of venue and a disruption to my preferred pattern, brought about by circumstances beyond my control (the weather – as opposed to the occupying Roman army).
The displacement of doing a familiar thing in an unfamiliar location is enough to cause us to have to think about the thing we are doing – and that can be very good for us. It can cause us to value certain things we have taken for granted; or open our eyes to new possibilities, such as how we use space, how we use space to extend invitation to others.
Why not take to eating in a room you don’t usually eat in during Advent;
or move the furniture around in your living room;
or keep something you use on a daily basis in another place so that you have to make a conscious effort to get it each time you want to use it?
As you experience displacement in small things, pray for those who experience displacement through conflict, rejection, lack of basic infrastructure, or travel away from home.
Anyway, yesterday evening I was reflecting on making room for Jesus in displacement. And this morning, due to the heating-system having broken down, we had to displace our morning gathered worship from the church into the church hall...
Advent: making room for Jesus – in displacement.