The Christmas Story
Since about 47% of Americans attend Christmas Eve church services, almost half the people living in the U.S. are familiar with the Christmas story (Matthew 1-2; 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.
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.
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. 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, but we understand the perspective of many on that first Christmas — the shepherds, the wisemen, Mary, and Joseph — who rearranged their lives to usher in the Christ child.