Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Making Room

I scrolled down through previous blogs today and noticed a number of responses which came after the first flurry of comments. Of course, they too are worthwhile -- check out what I think is the husband and wife duo of Dean and Alli responding to Leave it to Bieber.

I have been thinking a lot about hospitality, and welcome, and room for the stranger in recent months, in part because of our planning for the first Gathering Place meal which took place last Friday. As we get closer to Christmas we turn our thoughts to the "no room in the inn" aspect of our Christian story.

Our daughter Emily is a behavioural psychology degree student in Kingston, and is currently doing a school placement with behaviourally challenged grade sevens'. Some would argue that all grade seven students are behaviourally challenged, but that's another discussion.

Recently her class received a new student who had arrived the day before from China. Even though it was a Thursday two weeks before the end of term the mom dutifully showed up with her son, who speaks only limited English. It turned out that they were walking 45 minutes through the cold for a presentation at the Grand Theatre that morning. The boy must have been totally baffled by what was going on.

Em noticed his isolation and sat with him at the theatre. By strange coincidence the presentation was a troupe of drummers and dancers from China. When the curtain opened his face lit up and he turned to her and asked quizzically "drum?" He pointed with a smile and said "grandfather!" and actually named a drum in Chinese. She said it was a lovely experience for this displaced boy and for her.

Have you ever felt displaced, like the proverbially "fish out of water?" What about being welcomed or assisted or shown hospitality in an unlikely setting? Do you see the connection between the Christmas story and a mandate to be welcoming community?


Laura said...

Can't help but think about what our young scripture reader read this Sunday from Romans 15. Radical Hospitality is what we are called to,not only in our voices but from our lives. I can't think of a much more "radical" example of hospitality than Jesus' birth, welcoming us into abundant life.
Having moved around a fair bit,with a particularly difficult move in my last years of high school, I think the best lesson has been looking out for "the outsider" because from experience, it is a pretty lonely place.
(Can't imagine how hard it would be to be not only new, but not speak the language like Emily's little friend. Sounds like a brave little fellow, lucky to find an "Emily"...hope he finds many more on his journey.)

David Mundy said...

Thanks for reminding us about that Romans reading Laura -- harmony and welcome are great themes. I agree that moving around opens our eyes to the importance of hospitality.