The nativity is 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. Our previous home had room to sleep five additional guests, in beds, without any of us having to give up our bed. It was, admittedly, a luxury – and one that our current house cannot boast. So if we have visitors, there are times when the children have slept on a mattress on the landing floor, or we have given up our bed to guests and slept on a sofa-bed in the living room. And while this doesn’t equate with being a refugee, it is in fact pretty close to Mary and Joseph’s experience, where his relatives displaced themselves enough to make room for them in the (one, shared) family room, as the guest room was already full.
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.
Advent: making room for Jesus – in displacement.