“Men who love are all alone.”
Mary and Joseph look for an inn, but no inn will receive them. They are all alone. Mary is a “maiden” or a young unmarried virgin, who is all alone with the message of the angel. She knows that she has done nothing wrong, she knows that she has done nothing but love. Nevertheless, the reality of how she became pregnant is not known by anyone else, so she is terribly alone. Not even Joseph knows how she became pregnant.
Joseph is terribly alone; he is a just man, a good man, a loving man, but he cannot know how this happened. This lack of understanding isolates him terribly. He does not want to shame her for he cares for her. He will divorce her quietly.
After the angel appears, these two, i.e. Mary and Joseph, who are engaged to each other are all alone. The secret of her pregnancy has isolated their hearts. They don’t know how it will all work out. God will unite them, through His angel. Joseph will receive the Good News of the Emmanuel, of God-with-us. But once their hearts are united again, they will go looking for the inn. Yes, they will be together, but they are nevertheless alone once again. They are separated from their family and friends. Money and connections will allow for people to huddle together in the inns. Still, this couple will be excluded from society for the first Christmas eve. Those who love, stand-alone next to the one whom they love.
Even while they are alone in the stable, and the Lord is born unto them, it is not pride, power or money that will unite them. It was the angel that joined Joseph and Mary, and once again, it will be the angel that will unite the shepherds with the Holy Family. It is God and His providence that unites those who truly love.
At the cross, they will be alone again. Those who hate in this world gather together. Those who love will scatter to the four winds, for those who love stand alone. It will take an angel at the Resurrection to unite them once again. This truth, that one who loves is all alone and those who hate unite, continues to be true to this day. We don’t have to search far to find it, for we see it everywhere, from the protests to the water-cooler at work. People huddle together for gossip, criticism and hate, but when we love, we stand alone. Yet it is with those who ‘stand-alone’ that God will come make his home.
“And the men that hate herd all together,
To pride and gold, and the great white feather
And the thing is graven in star and stone
That the men who love are all alone.”
GK Chesterton – The truce of Christmas
Fr Michael Thérèse