Joseph also went
           from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
           to the city of David called Bethlehem,
           because he was descended from the house and family of David. 

                           —Luke 2.4

We grew up on stories of Jesus born in a stable,
homeless and rejected.
But that’s not what Luke describes.
Theirs was a family-centered culture.
Joseph’s kin would have welcomed him in to their home.
The “inn” is a poor translation of what really was
the upstairs guest room (crowded with all the kinfolk!).
The manger was not out in a stable
but in the lower room of the house,
where the animals were fed at night.
Luke isn’t portraying a baby born in the outskirts,
but born among family—
crowded, noisy, and probably festive.
As an adult Jesus spent lots of time
among the outcasts, the un-familied.
But his roots are in family. 

So. Finding family among the marginalized isn’t hereditary.
It’s a choice.
Much like God’s choice to come be with us,
to dwell with us, to choose us as family.
Maybe Christmas is about choosing family
among whoever needs it.

       God, thank you for choosing us as your family.
       Help me to choose as wisely, and as widely, as you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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