One of my favorite volumes on my bookshelf is a collection of readings for Advent and Christmas called Watch for the Light. It includes an essay by Dorothy Day called Room for Christ that I will steal an excerpt from here:
It is no use saying that we are born two thousand years too late to give room to Christ. He is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts. But now it is with the voices of our contemporaries that he speaks . . . with the heart of anyone in need that he longs for shelter. Giving shelter or food to anyone who needs it is giving it to Christ. We are not born too late. We see Christ and serve Christ in friends and in strangers. We give hospitality not because these people remind us of Christ but because they are Christ, asking us to make room for him, exactly as he did at that very first Christmas.
It’s impossible for me to hear these words without thinking about the hospitality we extend at Hope for the Journey Home, or the meals we provide at Dorothy Day in St. Paul, or the relationship we build with our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, or the welcome we give our families through the refugee resettlement program or our parish holiday giving programs, or the emergency assistance we provide all year round. This Christmas, I will offer a quiet prayer of gratitude for all the many ways that this parish makes room for Christ. May we continue to read the signs of the times, responding in love to those who need a welcome.