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Luke 2:7 (ESV) And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them …
There is so much noise. There is so much that demands our attention. We are under constant pressure from the things we have to do and the many things we wish we could do. We are also frequently falling into time traps. These traps are the hours we waste doing things we should not be doing. Especially when we do them for reasons we often do not understand. Why do we waste time trying to please people? Why do we lose so much time checking our various apps throughout the day? Why do we spend so much time trying to organize our lives according to our disorders? (Does it really matter if everything is just right?) And why do we spend so much time shopping for things we know we don’t really want? Of course, it is Christmas, so the intensity of all of these things is greatly magnified. It is quite possible that it is even more difficult to focus on the important things at Christmas even more than at any other time of the year.
Yet, in the Christmas Story, there are at least four narratives that teach us to make room for some essentials.
Make Room for the Difficulties.
I know that this isn’t a comforting idea, but Mary and Joseph endured some formidable obstacles to bring Christ into the World. I for one am very grateful for their perseverance.
For all of our control issues, all of our demands, and all of our manipulations; we actually have very little control over the circumstances that enter our lives. The problem is that we are usually surprised by them. What if they were something different for us? What if they were a step up instead of a setback? What if they were an upgrade rather than a system failure? Consider that it was the difficulties endured by one young couple that brought the Savior into the world. It is the same for us. It is through our struggles that Christ is revealed in us. (1 Peter 1:7)
Make Room for Surprises.
I don’t know what shepherds do at night after bedding down the sheep. The shepherd’s lot sounds a little tedious. However, It would allow for a great deal of introspection as I believe the Psalms display. What if no one was in the fields outside of Bethlehem on that night? What if everyone was so distracted by their own “thing” they didn’t hear the music, or they didn’t look up into the sky?
We should make time for the surprises of life. Who knows that a flat tire, a dead battery, even a fender bender might be serendipitous? What if a stop to lend a hand or to encourage someone in need introduced you to something wonderful? I seem to recall a passage in Hebrews that speaks of entertaining angels unaware. (Hebrews 13:2)
Make Room for the Mysteries.
The simple act of paying attention has become a superpower. It is so rare that it has become impressive, when noticed. I find it somewhat ridiculous that people had to come from the East to welcome the King of the Jews when the Jewish experts were just a few miles away. Unfortunately, they were also completely oblivious. Their minds were so absorbed with their dusty scrolls that a new star in the sky escaped their notice.
We are often trapped by our own misconceptions of God and His ways. Those beliefs can become a trap. Some don’t believe in God so they can’t see Him or His amazing feats. Others do believe but have Him so boxed in, all they are able to do is criticize and judge anything that does not fit into their narrow understanding.
There is no end to the wonders and the mysteries within the grasp of those who seriously consider God’s Word, God’s World, and God’s Spirit.
Make Room for the King!
What a sad night it must have been in Bethlehem. There was just no place for Jesus. He was born and ultimately died an outsider. The honest truth is that Jesus will never have a place in this world. There will never be a place for Him amidst the noise, consumerism, and self-indulgence of our time in history. But, that is okay because there is plenty of room outside.
Jesus invites us into His world. He challenges us to leave all the trappings behind and find real life. We should do it. We should flee the noise and false promise that is everywhere. We should gather around our Savior and Worship Him!
Matthew 16:24 (NLT) Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.