The Christmas story is one I’ve heard pretty much every year since I was born. I’m might even be able to recite the story from the book of Matthew by memory for the most part. Yet as routine as this story has become for me, it never fails to awaken some spark deep within my spirit each year. This year was no different, but I do hope it’s different in the way that I allow my life to be shaped by that spark. Rather than being a reminder each year, perhaps this year it can be a catalyst that leads to my best year yet with the Lord.
Having heard the Christmas story so many times in my life, I think I’ve heard it from every perspective possible – the shepherds, Mary, Joseph, the wise men, and even the innkeeper. I think I’ve even heard it from the point of view of the star in the sky and the animals in the stable too. There are uncountable modern telling focusing on the meaning of Christmas, and there are tellings that use favorite Christmas carols such as Joy to the World and Silent Night to illustrate the impact of that night.
While hearing the story again this year, the idea of “no room” stood out to me more than any other. For whatever reason, the inn had no room for Mary and Joseph and essentially for the Christ child. Even before He was born, people failed to make room for Him amidst busyness and rush. Still today, the hurry and bustle of the holiday season distracts so many from making room for Him. To be honest, busyness seems to prevent a focus on Christ pretty much all year. From before His birth to Christmas 2011, there seems to be “no room” for Jesus.
The only solution is a deliberate effort to make room. That starts with hearing the Lord speak through the holiday noise. It’s seeking His peace amidst all-consuming busyness not just during the holidays but during everyday life as well. But how?
A change of focus begins when you ask God to speak to you and then you make yourself willing to listen for his voice. That may mean stopping physically and mentally. It may mean stopping electronically too. Making room for Jesus is simply not a passive activity. Sometimes, hearing God through the noise involves removing yourself from the intense volume. Maybe you can’t turn it off completely, but perhaps you can decrease the volume. Sometimes, we need to spend some time reorganizing to make room, and often we need to de-clutter by letting getting rid of that which we no longer use and even that which we do use sometimes.
Do you long to hear the voice of the Lord speak to you? Intentionally reduce or remove that which drowns out His still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11 & 12). Do what is necessary to allow you to hear him through the holiday noise, and then keep with those habits that make His voice audible in the midst of the everyday noise of life. He does speak to us. He does give peace. He does speak truth. Our part is to hear His voice, and we must rearrange our lives to enable ourselves to do our part. For in doing so, we can then better understand the perspective of all those in the original Christmas story who allowed their lives to be rearranged by the birth of the Christ child.
QUESTION: What do you need to remove or rearrange to make room for Christ now and in the coming year?