It is one of the defining markers of the Christian faith. 

Yet we seldom realize the deep spiritual significance of it. 

Welcoming others into your home is a physical representation of Christ inviting us into the love and work of the gospel. It is an earthly picture of the heavenly gift. 

We see it fully on display here in these passages. 

We have had three children, and I can safely say that we would not have been as welcoming to a band of strangers entering our house to see our newborn. 

I honestly don’t know if the shepherds expected to be allowed in either. 

After all, society deemed them “unclean” and they didn’t know this family. 

Yet they answered God’s call and came. 

It is important here to note that many of our images of the Christmas story have been taken from songs and stories that are more influenced by Western culture than in the Middle Eastern culture in which it takes place. 

Had the shepherds seen a newborn child in a drafty barn, they would have invited the family back to their house. Hospitality is extremely important in Middle Eastern culture, even in today’s society.

They found the Messiah in a place that was safe and they were welcomed into it. 

This Holy Family welcomed them in.

Mary with her willingness to follow God,

Joseph with the sacrifice of his dreams and expectations,

and the newborn King. 

Showing hospitality to those searching for the Messiah. 


Morning Pause: At the start of this day, pray that God would make you an agent of hospitality in the world around you. That you would be an earthly example of the heavenly gift. 

Afternoon Pause: How hospitable are you? How welcome is the stranger in your midst? Take some time in the midst of this day to look around. Put yourself in the shepherds’ sandals. Who would invite you in?

Evening Pause: Pray for all those searching for the Messiah they have heard about, pray they would be welcomed in.