Christmas visitors found no room inside the inn
By F. Marie Foley

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Time changes at Christmas—it seems to stop—or to run backwards on a silent tick-tockery of memory. The exercise of memory at Christmas transcends Time.

Memory brings images of a long dead mother laughing as she with floured hands works the dough, ices the cakes and bakes the pies for Christmas dinner. Of fathers, long gone too, coming from work chilled—their voice so clear and deep. Those long dead and gone into Time, somehow, again being home, in these days of Christmas.

Look, see the gentle grandmother’s hand flicking back a strand of black hair. Listen, a child’s voice, like a silver bell. Over there a golden bright window in my old home long stilled, emptied, its back broken by real time. There in the rocker by the fire, an old grandfather, wearing the wide innocent eyes of children as in the firelight’s glow old memories come to fore. A memory of when the world was laughter--and life was only play. See, the good neighbor with gift in hand, with the heart of the giver thrown in. The soldier home from war, arms outstretched, stepping down from the train. As we sit and turn life’s lovely pages of memory, we will want to put extra chairs around the hearth fire and make room at the table for all our dear ones that beckon from out of other years.

Listen, the church bells are ringing! The magic of singing is heard. Not the grand alleluias of great city choirs, but the loveliest kind that comes from the soul. It was there in that little church that true friendships were born; friendships that have survived many holidays long passed and gone. See, the smiles on all the faces as the baby is laid in the manger and the Christmas Pageant begins. The church lights are dimmed and the old, old story of the Christ Child’s birth is read once again, reminding us of an infant, cold with yellow straw sticking to newborn arms and legs. Of an exhausted young mother, praising God with each labored breath for the birth of her newborn son; pondering in her heart how it could be her arms held God’s love for the entire world.

Listen closely and you will hear what the animals said about the happenings in their stable. ” I carried His mother on the long journey here,” said the shaggy donkey. ”I gave Him my manger for His bed and my hay for His pillow,” said the cow. ”We all witnessed His birth,” said the sheep. It was agreed that they would all warm Him and His family with their life sustaining warmth. In their home they had made room for Him.

The old ones among us said that at midnight on Christmas Eve, all farm animals kneeled in their stalls to adore the newborn Jesus and praised Him with human voices.

There is a wonder in Christmas, a mystery, that mankind will never be able to explain. So, let us leave the door into our hearts standing wide open, and prepare a place for all who pull the latchstring to find room and a welcome inside.


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