So Joseph also went up . . . to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. (Luke 2:4)

My son lives in sunny California. Just a few weeks after graduating from college, he packed his very small car with all his earthly belongings and drove himself 1,500 miles from Oklahoma to the Sunshine State. It is rather difficult to determine the “right” place to live in an area as large as Orange County, so just before he left, I contacted a relative of a relative to get advice about Spencer’s housing search, never expecting what came next. Without hesitation, my shirttail “relative” offered my son a bed and a room while he searched for an apartment. This was a burden lifted.

The first few verses of Luke 2 are revealing. Joseph traveled to his ancestral home where he had relatives, or at least “relatives of relatives.” At this point in history, hospitality was not simply customary—it was integral, normative, and expected. Thus, that Mary was required to give birth alongside farm animals points to something curious and perhaps disturbing. I wonder whether Mary and Joseph were relegated to the manger because her pregnancy was suspicious.

When we reject others or fail to extend relational and physical hospitality, it is often because we find the potential recipient “unworthy.” From birth, our own Redeemer was repeatedly rejected (see Mark 6:3, 12:10; John 1:11). God’s redemption comes in unexpected ways, and we are called to take part.

Be part of God’s redeeming plan by extending relational and physical hospitality.

Dalene Rovenstine Fisher is a wife and mother. She serves as the dean of arts and sciences at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.