Friday, December 26, 2014

Bethlehem and housing

Bethlehem, it has me thinking today.

About that young couple. 

Can you imagine? 

I know with certainty that the experience had nothing in common with our typical, pristine images of bucolic sweetness and peace!

Joseph, the one who heard from angels, even Gabriel, did his best, but he found no housing for his young bride and their soon-to-arrive son.

He settled for a stable stall and made the best of it.  Really not so different from trying to begin a family under the I-45 bridge here in Dallas. 

An experience like many of my friends live through every night.

Just such a homeless world greeted the baby Jesus.  

However, some don't make it through the night. 

A few nights ago here in the city, an evil person murdered a woman who tried to live in this manger-like environment.    Possibly motivated by some deep mental illness--produced by the street or arising from something equally terrible before the street, who knows?--her killer found it easy to take advantage of the wide open vulnerability of life lived without housing.  

Not much protection available when you have no place to call home.

My friend died a horrible death.


Like that young couple so long ago, she had no housing--there was "no room in the inn" for her.

As I reflect on the concept and reality of Bethlehem, I realize how important housing is to safety and life.  Housing is a human right, not some option provided by charitable hearts. 

I also realize where God lines up on all aspects of this reality.  The Jesus story reveals that God encountered life as we know it, and God began at the very bottom. 

Where else is there for us to begin?

Christmas thoughts.

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