The Bell Boy

The Bell Boy – Adventus Domini – Joy

Scripture has often been a bit vague when it comes to the details that we crave. In our instant culture, we want to be minute experts and argue like we have doctorates in all topics. However, when processing bible stories we often find ourselves colouring outside the lines. There are a few elements in the nativity story where we find ourselves doing this very thing. This is where for me the bell boy enters the story of Jesus birth.

Consider joy to be the underlying thread in the Sunday school Christmas play “no room at the inn”. Think about the last time you did something massively kind for someone else. Gave significant money, bought them dinner, or maybe surprised them with a gift that was completely anonymous. Joy is the element that enters our heart when we act selflessly like this. In one of the recent series at our church we defined joy as “the positive confidence I feel from knowing and trusting God, regardless of circumstances.”

In the nativity story all we know is one simple detail about accommodation… there was no room at the inn. The unspoken realism adds some clarity as to why.

Nazareth. Josephs new home town, the land of his lady Mary. Void of fresh water, fertile soil but rich in disease and reputation. 111 km from Bethlehem and the proud owner of the title, the land where nothing good can come from. Thats quite the reputation.

Bethlehem. Josephs home land, full of relatives, connections and corruption. It sits 5 km outside of Jerusalem and is under the thumb of the Romans. If they thought the Babylonians, Greeks and Persians were bad… just wait for Herods son, who had to be replaced for being too brutal. Herod brought his two tier governance of the Roman empire with him. There were the Romans and those that the Romans could buy to keep the commoners working hard to keep up appearances. Image was everything! Realistically, our famous inn keeper was on the take.

You can almost hear the whispers now “don’t let the Romans see you with that unclean girl Joseph”,”you know what those people are like, they are not like us, they hate us”, “pregnant!, your not even married”, and “what do we do if we see them at the store… they are going to want somewhere to stay… we just can’t”. I have veered away from asking about room at the inn and have become more concerned with there being no room at the homes of Josephs relatives.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it. No? Well let’s try these statements.

What if they steal? What about our own people that need somewhere to stay? What if they bring their culture with them? What about terrorism? Seriously, we cannot trust them! These statements could work today and it could work for Mary and Joseph.

The good news is, there was a bell boy! or a someone. An anyone who was willing to look at the culture of racism and apparence directly in the eye and still act. Let us simply call him a hero. The bell boy (or stable keeper or inn keeper or janitor and so on and so on) had one thing in mind, someone else. He acted selflessly and felt the joy of the Lord released into his heart, he watched joy over take this young couple but there is something bigger. There was a joy being slowly released into the atmosphere as heaven came close to earth that day. His simple act created the starting point for the God of heaven to start his journey on earth.

What if your simple selfless act did that? You might not even know about it, it could be world changing.

This Christmas season, act – release joy – repeat. The worst case scenario is, we make someones day better and put a smile in our hearts and theirs. The best case scenario is, we change the world.


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