“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
And so our Savior came into our world. God, incarnate. Immanuel, God with us. A most joyful Christmas to you all!
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our savior, our God, our redeemer. Jesus was born of humble, poor parents in the humblest of places, a stable for animals because there was no room for them at the inn in Bethlehem. Yet He came to save us all.
We went on a trip to Italy one winter. (We would travel over the Christmas/New Year’s break because our kids would be out of school.) Sarah had graduated from college and was living and working in another state and Seth was at university. We decided to go to Italy, on what we thought might be our last “family vacation”. It was a marvelous trip for all of us. The highlight of our trip was to attend a Christmas Eve mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. As Christians, we were excited to attend this special Christmas Eve service.
We did not know if we would even have tickets until Christmas Eve! Between our guide and his wife (who had their tickets already) and the hotel where we stayed, we were able to secure 4 additional tickets! The mass was beautiful and moving and memorable. Pope Francis was eloquent and powerful, and his message was compelling. I admit that I am repeating his message to all of you (but I totally give him all the credit!).
Jesus, the Word, was with God from the beginning. Without Him was nothing made. And yet when He came to earth as a baby, there was no room for Him. He had to be born in a stable and laid in a manger. Are we like the innkeeper? Who looked at the humble, expectant parents but had no room for them. Are we like the religious leaders of the day? Who looked at Jesus and believed that no “king of the Jews”, no rescuer, no Messiah would be born in such lowly circumstances. Are we like people in the village where Jesus grew up? Who looked at this son of Mary and Joseph and had no room in their hearts for the Messiah.
Or… Are we like the magi? Who looked up to the heavenly star and searched until they found the baby born to be the King of the Jews? Are we like the shepherds asleep in the fields? Who, upon hearing the angels proclaiming His birth, went to Bethlehem to seek and worship the Savior of the world. Are we like every human heart? Pursuing the only thing that will fill the empty, waiting space, Jesus.
This year as we celebrate the Christmas season, let’s make “room” for Jesus; in our minds, in our homes, in our lives, and especially in our hearts. Let’s welcome His grace, His joy, His peace, His lovingkindness, His forgiveness, and His saving power and experience His gift for us all.
I thank God for each of you. And I thank you for joining me this Christmas week as we welcome our Savior and make room for Him in our lives.