I still remember, ten years ago, we celebrated Posada on third Saturday in Advent. Originally, Posada is a Spanish word, which became “A Christmas festival originating in Latin America that dramatizes Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging.” (The American Heritage Dictionary) I was inspired by this ceremony and preached homeless Jesus in Chinese on Christmas Day that year.
Today’s Gospel tells us that while Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
That “There was no place for them in the inn” and Baby Jesus was born in a manger was a sign that our Savior came to the world among us as a homeless. Jesus has been homeless throughout his life. He says, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Lk. 9:58) Although Jesus has several titles, for example, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Suffering Servant, Son of God, Son of Man, Emmanuel; and of course, Christ, Messiah, and the Redeemer, and so on, few people would like to hear homeless as a title of Jesus.
However, as the Angel announced, that Baby Jesus was born as a homeless in a manger is a Good News of great joy; a Savior has been born to us. Actually, we are all homeless. Since sent out from the Garden of Eden, human beings have lost their home and became homeless. God has mercy on us, and sent his Son to be incarnate as a homeless among us and to lead us who are homeless in the world to come back to the eternal home, the kingdom of God. Just as prophet Isaiah says in today’s first reading, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2).
Homeless Jesus is a great light. I never expected anyone would like to call Jesus Homeless. But when preparing today’s sermon, I found online that in early 2013, a Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz produced a bronze sculpture Homeless Jesus, also known as Jesus the Homeless, by that depicts Jesus as a homeless person, sleeping on a park bench. The original sculpture was installed at Regis College, University of Toronto.
In 2013, the first cast was installed in the United States, at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, North Carolina. There are, up till now, about ten casts installed in this country. The Rev. David Buck, rector of St. Alban’s says, “It gives authenticity to our church. This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.” (Burnett, John. “Statue of a Homeless Jesus Startles a Wealthy Community”. NPR. Retrieved April 13, 2014.)
Yes, it looks like true that we have home in the world; most of us have jobs, families, cars and houses or apartments. However, we are still strangers and foreigners on the earth. Moreover, there are people in the world who physically have no place to live or no adequate sources of livelihood.
Now the Savior has been born to us and we have been given hope going home. Jesus leads us to find a home, not only physical one, but also spiritual; not only on earth, but also in heaven. We follow him going to the City God prepares for us.
Let us praise God and say with angles, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” Amen.
2013年，這雕塑的第一個鑄件（複製件）被安置在美國北卡羅來納州戴維森的聖公會聖奧本堂。至今（2016年底）已經有十個鑄件在美國安置。聖奧本牧區主任大衛•巴克說，“這座雕塑給了我們教堂真確性。老實說，這是個相當富裕的教堂，我們需要提醒自己，我們的信仰是要表達出，對處於社會邊緣者的關懷。(Burnett, John. "Statue of a Homeless Jesus Startles a Wealthy Community". NPR. Retrieved April 13, 2014.)