The world needs more innkeepers, people who create enough space for love to grow. Even a cranky host who offers little more than a tattered blanket and a corner of a barn will suffice.

When people are on a mission to fulfill God’s dream, they don’t ask for much. Give them some straw and a feeding trough, and they can transform it into a home where love is born and strangers are welcomed.

The world needs more innkeepers to welcome all the Marys and Josephs who are forced to flee their homes. As South Americans trudge toward their divine dream, I wonder how they keep going. How do they keep their focus on the stars that pierce the long, deep night? How do they keep searching for kindness in the wreckage of hate? With children in their arms, and possessions strapped to their backs, they lumber toward a fragile promise of new life.

The world needs more innkeepers, not more people to chirp, “Merry Christmas." “Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas”— God could give a hoot which one we say. God is far more concerned with how we treat our neighbors. Do we love them or hate them? The second of the two greatest commandments is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And who is our neighbor? Jesus’ answer still makes us squirm. A neighbor is not someone who looks like us, talks like us, or lives near us. A neighbor is anyone and everyone, and we are called to open our hearts to them all.

The world needs more innkeepers, people who see everyone as a neighbor. The out-keepers are at the border because many Americans think immigrants will steal our jobs, our access to health care, or our children’s spot at school. But in rejecting asylum seekers, we lose far more than anything they could take. We reject God who demands that we welcome the stranger, and in so doing we condemn ourselves to an angry, fear-based life.

The world needs more innkeepers who know that the weary traveler needs a safe corner in the world to create a better life — just like our own ancestors did when they arrived on our shores.

The world needs more innkeepers, not a wall. To whom much is given, much is expected. Simply by virtue of our birthright, Americans have been given so much, and God asks us to create some space for people who desperately need it. We don’t have to like it, but we have to find a way to do it. Otherwise, we will destroy God’s miracles before they can be born.

 

The Rev. Katheryn Barlow-Williams is the senior pastor at Central Presbyterian Church.