2019 Christmas, Room In The Inn

Kathy with a Co-workerKathy with a Co-workerLittle sister Kathleen lives in England. She has been working at the Crown Hotel in "Wells-next-the-Sea," Norfolk, for a couple of years, and she shared the following last Christmas:

One morning as I was mopping in the bar area Jimmy started putting up the Christmas decorations... wooden stars, boughs of plastic pine decorated with dried slices of orange and cinnamon cane. Fairy lights flickered. Everything was very quickly set up because it had been carefully put away at the end of the last season. "But where's the Baby Jesus?" I asked Jimmy. He snickered. But I could feel that the door wasn't entirely closed...

Our parish priest had said that Christmas has become like a big birthday party where everyone's there except the person whose birth¬day is being celebrated. "In fact, you're not even allowed to mention his name. You have to be like John the Baptist and proclaim him in the deserts of our world."

So I arrived at work one morning with a Christmas crib. I set it up on the corner of the bar. When the hotel owner arrived he took one look at it and said that I should set it up in the reception area. He even wanted to put it on the coffee table in the centre, but I thought that a bit risky for a fragile terracotta nativity set and suggested one of the bookcase shelves. The stuffed pheasant that usually stands among the bottles and books was quickly replaced by the Holy Family. Each time I'd turn the fairy lights on in the morning I'd think, "You see Lord, there's room for you in the inn."

Our parish priest also tells the story of the little boy who dearly wanted to be Saint Joseph in the nativity play. But someone else had been chosen and he was asked to be the inn keeper. He wasn't at all happy with his role and when Mary and Joseph came knocking at the door asking for room, he replied with, "Sure, come on in" and flung the door wide open! The play fell to pieces and no one knew what to do anymore.

Thank you Lord for those I work with, whose profession is hospitality. Thank you for the housekeeping team who declared that I should have Christmas day off and gave up a precious moment with their own families. Thank you for what my fellow "innkeepers" expect of me. I am a very rickety Manger, but you have been laid in my life and I experience how much you draw them to yourself.