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A Perfect Christmas Story for this year...
What to do with Tom? Tom was an awkward and shy child who belonged to the church kids club. It was time to hand out roles for the Christmas play, but what role should the teacher give Tom? She decided on the inn-keeper. It was an important role, but required Tom only to shake his head and say one line “Sorry, we’ve no room.” Tom grinned from ear to ear when he learned of his important role and he couldn’t wait for the big night.
It arrived soon enough, and the play was proceeding according to plan. Mary and Joseph had traveled to Bethlehem and come to the door of the inn. Joseph knocked on the door and it opened to Tom. “Please sir, do you have a room we could take?” asked Joseph. Tom shook his head and replied. “I’m sorry, we’ve no room”.
Now the boy playing Joseph was a particularly confident child, and while the script called for he and Mary to turn away at this point, Joseph decided to exercise some dramatic license. “But sir” he said to the innkeeper, “My wife is about to have her baby and we need somewhere to stay. Couldn’t you find us a room.” Tom’s face went white – this was not planned for! – and he paused for a moment before repeating his line. “I’m sorry, we’ve no room.”
“But sir” replied Joseph, “We’ve traveled such a long way and we’ve nowhere else to go and my wife is very tired. Surely you can find us somewhere.” Tom bowed his head, shook it sadly and said, “I’m sorry, we’ve no room.” Forlornly Joseph and Mary started walking away. Tom, now fully into his role, felt shamed and saddened. A tear trickled down his cheek. Then his voice was heard calling out. “Wait! Please come back. You can have my room.”
It may not have been according to script, but at that moment Tom gave perfect expression to the Christmas story.
Tom reminds me what I should be like in this Christmas....when CAB and NRC make many homeless like the Infant born as outcaste, in the peripheral, rejected by the powerful, majoritarian, political Masters of our time. The millions of refugees and Migrants all over the world, who have been searching for a place to live. When women and children are violently abused...venemous hatred make many homeless Tom reminds me of my role. I may be timid, shy, voiceless, helpless, powerless, yet my heart must go out for such people....feel their pain...respect their humanity....love them as God's children and may be welcome at least one of them with genuine tears like Tom. Can I call them back and tell them....please come back...you can have my room...?
If so my Christmas is meaningful, my celebration becomes fruitful and the season of Christmas becomes blissful to me.
Let us feel Christ and feel for the marginalised.
May God bless us!
Sunny Jacob SJ