When he entered the house, the blind men approached him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?”

There is a beautiful subtlety to this story that often gets overlooked in our desire to see and understand the miracle.

Jesus encounters the blind men on the road, and they appeal to him using a name which defines who they think the messiah will be, not who Jesus says He is. But even though they call Jesus by a name he doesn’t choose for himself, pay attention to what happens next.

“When he entered the house, the blind men approached him.”

“When he entered the house.” Jesus encounters these men on the road. They call him by a name that Jesus chastises the scribes for using, but when Jesus enters the house the blind men go with him.

I am from the midwest and it is pretty common for people to invite one another over to their homes for opportunities for fellowship and fun. It wasn’t until I was staying in New York City and someone took me to their apartment and told me that New Yorkers just don’t invite people over, at least partially because no one can afford a place big enough for entertaining. Entering into someone’s home is special, you get invited. There are even social protocols for bringing a small gift or some food to offer in response to their hospitality.

Jesus entered into the house and the blind men entered with him. Before the miracle, before asking if they believe, it all started with an act of hospitality.

The babe, born in a stable because no one had room for his laboring mother, brings them into his home.

What a beautiful Advent challenge for us. What a beautiful and stress-reducing idea! I don’t need to make this the most amazing Christmas ever. I don’t need to make sure that each child attends perfectly to each of my carefully planned Advent activities. I don’t even need to make sure that every meal is Pinterest-photo ready. I am not the worker of miracles. I am not asking people to believe in me. I don’t want them to see me, I want them to see Jesus. My job is to follow Jesus’s example and help people to feel welcomed and wanted. My job is to imitate Jesus where I can. And while I can’t work miracles, I can look at others and see them for who they are in God’s eyes. I can offer small acts of hospitality, living moment to moment and really experiencing the joy of being with the person right in front of me. It doesn’t even necessarily mean bringing someone into my home. It might be just putting my phone down when I am around others. It might be making eye contact and saying thank you to the woman who is finishing a long shift at the grocery store. It might be paying forward a cup of coffee in the drive-thru or coffee shop. It might just be an encouraging word to someone hurting or alone. Those small acts (especially when I don’t feel like being warm and fuzzy) are the window which allows others to see Jesus at home in me.

As we continue this journey through Advent, as we prepare to welcome Jesus into our hearts at Mass and into the world at the Nativity, let’s offer to one another those small acts of welcome that prepare us for the miracle.

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Sheryl delights in being the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process whether it is studying for classes, deepening their prayer life or discovering new ways to serve together. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Brea, a Bernese Mountain dog and Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever.