A faint knock on the door is drowned out by the wind and the rain. Mother nature is proving to be not much help in this situation. Inside the tiny flat, near the warmth of the kitchen, Don Bosco is quietly praying his Evening Prayer while his mother, Mama Margaret, tidies up around the kitchen after the meal shared with her son.
The desperate knock on the door grows louder and more urgent. Over the sound of the raging storm, Mama Margaret hears the sound and rushes over to the door, opening it to find a young lad, soaking wet through the layers of his clothing all the way to his skin.
Without hesitation, she brings him into the warmth of the kitchen and helps him dry of. She offers a bowl of soup and bread to this boy who is eager to ease the pains of dire hunger in his stomach.
As the young boy eats, Don Bosco makes his way over and converses with him about his family, education, work and faith. Don Bosco learns that the young boy is an orphan who was desperately looking for work in Turin but to no avail.
The lad begs Mama Margaret and Don Bosco for a night’s stay, so he can have even just a night’s rest before he continues his journey into the unknown on the following day. He breaks down and cries as he tells of his troubles and how the weight of the world is too much for him to bear. Mama Margret too cries, as she seeks to comfort and console this young guest.
In the kitchen, Don Bosco clears some space and, with the lad’s help, a makeshift bed is prepared for a good night's rest. Before wishing him ‘goodnight’ Mama Margaret shares a short talk with him on the necessity of work, of trustworthiness and of religion. Already, the beginnings of a brighter future for the lad are taking shape.
Mary and Joseph also knocked on many doors in Bethlehem, although they had no success. No welcome! They finally found a stable, such a humble place where they could welcome and introduce the Prince of Peace to all of humanity. The poor were the first to meet and greet this baby Jesus while the throng of angels sang “Glory to God in heaven and peace to his people on earth! ”
As the search for a place to rest went on, even the smallest of gestures would have been enough.
Christmas is a seasonal reminder to welcome desperate and unexpected strangers knocking on the doors of our hearts to share a little peace and happiness.
In this holy and joyful season, I wish peace and happiness to every reader of the Australian Salesian Bulletin and all of your loved ones.