Making Room for Christ

nativityThe Christmas Story

Since about 47% of Americans attend Christmas Eve church services, almost half the people living in the United States are familiar with the Christmas story (found in Matthew 1-2 and in Luke 1-2). Many likely know it by heart.

I’ve heard the Christmas story from every possible perspective — the shepherds, Mary, Joseph, the wise men, the innkeeper, even the stars in the sky and the animals in the stable. Uncountable modern tellings focus on the meaning of Christmas from every point of view.

One version delves into the idea of “no room” at the inn in Jerusalem. For whatever reason, the inn could not accommodate a pregnant Mary and her husband Joseph.

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:6-7)

This physical circumstance connects to the spiritual reality that even before Jesus’ birth, people failed in making room for Him amidst busyness and rush.

No Room

The hurry and bustle of the holiday season distracts so many from making room for Christ. Really, busyness prevents a focus on Him year round. From before His birth to Christmas today, there seems to be the all-to-common state of “no room” for Jesus.

The solution lies with a new perspective and deliberate effort. He won’t force His way into our lives, but He certainly provides ample opportunity for us to welcome Him of our own accord.

Make Room

Making room for Christ in a busy life starts with hearing the voice of the Lord through the holiday noise. It involves deliberately seeking His peace amidst the all-consuming busyness during the holidays and beyond.

This approach begins with a change of focus as we ask God to speak to us and then as we add intentional effort to hear his voice. That requires stopping physically, mentally, spiritually and, especially in our modern culture, electronically.

Consider the words of Psalm 46:10 in several versions to understand how this best happens:

“Be still and know that I am God.” (NIV)

“Cease striving and know that I am God.” (NASB)

“Stop your fighting — and know that I am God.” (Holman)

“Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.” (God’s Word Translation)

“Desist and know that I am God.” (Young’s Literal Translation)

Making room for Jesus involves removing ourselves from the intense volume of the world. It means reorganizing our lives and making room by de-cluttering to get rid of distractions.

God does still speak to us. He still offers peace. And He still provides wisdom. Our part in the equation requires enabling ourselves to hear Him. In doing so, we not only “know” He is God, we understand the perspective of many on that first Christmas — the shepherds, the wisemen, Mary & Joseph — who rearranged their lives to usher in the Christ child.

What do you need to remove or rearrange to make room for Christ now and in the coming year?

 

8 thoughts on “Making Room for Christ

  1. Your thoughts are closer to the reality of the biblical "Birth of Jesus" than we amy give credit. In a busy, preoccupied world, even in the First Century, no one took notice of the Messiah's birth. Even the shepherds had to be redirected by angels to testify to the birth. Days later Simeon recognizes him during his circumcision ceremony and speaks in prophetic terms but then fades in the story without anyone else taking notice. Anna is said to have identified him after decades of anticipation but she too fades without further comment. It may be true Mary and Joseph struggled… Ironically the Magi a couple of years later seek the birth and they rattle Herod who fears he's about to be usurped – evidence of his paranoia. The world only seems to seek the Christ story of Christmas when there is a need in their lives, otherwise Christmas is more about trees, lights, gifts, feasting, and family memories. More people will watch "A Christmas Story" or "Its a Wonderful Life" for the umpteenth time than attend a church service. More children know of the Christmas story because of Linus in Charlie Brown's "Christmas Story" cartoon than a family sharing of the biblical story.

    You are dead on… we are too busy, too preoccupied ringing up gift purchases and fixing cookies and decorating our homes than connecting with the reason the Church centuries ago established the "Christ Mass" for the annual retelling and sharing of Jesus' Birth. Ironically, Francis Assisi had little challenges to erecting his "creche" props for the Nativity story in the center of towns as he traveled during the Christmas season each year, but today the world says no to public displays in America at every turn! Even the name "Christmas" is under attack because of its origin, yet why should anyone fuss about it? The world is too busy enjoying their interpretation of Christmas to make it a religious celebration.

    • You sum up the issue up well with this statement: "The world only seems to seek the Christ story of Christmas when there is a need in their lives." We must be living it and ready to share it when our lives intersect with that need.

  2. I agree with you. I agree with Coach Mike. As a pastor I am trying to remind the folks of the meaning for this season. I disagree that "Jesus is the reason for the season." We are. He is the meaning for the season. he came to die for us. that is reality. Thanks Kari for the "upfront' story.
    My recent post Mistletoe

  3. My mom said I could recite the Christmas story when I was 3. I still love it. I have shared it over and over and never get tired of it. This year I am rereading the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp and also The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs. They have both stopped me in my tracks with their words. Jesus is the meaning for my life, not just at Christmas but all year through. The quiet time with Him is growing sweeter every year. I am blessed. I so enjoy the blogs you share and the comments of others. Merry Christmas!

  4. Great reminder! My family (like most people) tend to forget the reason for the season, I've tried to make it a point to slow down enough to remember why we are celebrating Christmas and to take time before and during that day to remember.

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