I don’t think there is anyone who would say that they aren’t welcoming. Whether talking about our church or our home, we’d all like to think that we are welcoming.
Welcoming means smiling at someone when they look at you. It means helping someone with directions when they ask. But welcoming also means giving up your seat when the church is full, it means giving a smile instead of a scowl when you hear a child around you crying.
Christmas is a time when many people come to church who maybe do not attend every Sunday. Being welcoming by giving up your ‘regular’ seat or resisting the urge to glare at someone on their phone or those talking during the homily is a tough task. It might even be considered radical… but it is a part of being welcoming.
In this Sunday’s gospel, John calls for radical change in the lives of his community. He asks the people to let go of their pasts by immersing themselves in the living waters in anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah. Next to this call of the Baptist, we hear the words of Saint Paul to the Romans, inviting us to come together in Christ, who welcomes us into his heart, both fulfilling the promises of the past and creating a new path into the future.
As we prepare for Christmas, what obstacles keep us from being welcoming to others and how can we avoid them? As Christmas draws closer and life gets a little crazier, our patience can grow thinner. Let’s think radically and really up our game with how welcoming we can be.