|Posted on November 27, 2021 at 1:10 PM|
Here we go! We’re officially entering into the Christmas season. No sooner had the Thanksgiving leftovers been stowed in the fridge than I started decorating. I hauled out my old tree, which is being retired this year (nothing a little duct tape can’t mend for the season), the many ornaments from years gone by, so MANY lights, and all the little bits of foil and ribbon that have somehow managed to get stashed into the Christmas storage boxes.
I don’t know what it is about opening those totes filled with holiday stuff, but it makes me happy. The mix of pine needles, gingerbread cookies, peppermint candles and great memories wafts into the room and I am transported through time in flashbacks and moments that mix together in my heart. The added poignancy of why we celebrate and what we’re acknowledging, washes over me, and fills my soul with childlike wonder.
Make no mistake, there have been years that Christmas didn’t immediately fill me with anticipation. Some holidays were brutally hard, whether because of the loss of a loved one, financial strain, or separation from family and friends. Sometimes the joy of those around us can make us feel the pain more intensely, and it can be difficult to avoid resentment that the world is celebrating while we are in mourning. If that is your circumstance this year, let me just tell you I understand, and so do millions of people across the globe. That doesn’t change the pain, but perhaps it can open a little room in your heart.
Because at the end of the day, it comes down to making room. Luke 2:7 records that when Mary, the mother of Jesus, gave birth “she wrapped Him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Herod, the king of that day, when confronted with Jesus’ birth, sent his soldiers to kill every male child over the age of two years. He decided there was no room for another King, and Christ was certainly that – child or no.
And the end of the Messiah’s earthly time came because Satan was convinced there was no room for him and the perfection of Christ in this earthly realm. And God allowed the sacrifice of His Son to orchestrate our redemption. By allowing man to reject Jesus, He knew He was giving us our only permanent opportunity to make room for Him in our hearts, and so share eternity with the Father.
But then it’s up to us. The space is opened up, but we must decide what we fill it with. This season we can load it with presents to each other, holiday parties, decorations and celebrations – and I don’t believe God has any problem with that at all -- but we also have to focus on the real ‘reason for the season.’
While we’re shopping for each other and preparing huge meals, dressing up our houses and wrapping gifts, we must not lose sight of why these celebrations were initiated. Does it matter that Jesus was likely born in Spring, not Winter? Is it important whether we get together on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve - or not at all? What is important is that we are bringing to our minds the very reason we exist – to celebrate the room that was made in our lives for salvation.
And beyond Christmas, we should be making room for Jesus every single day. The Messiah’s name was called Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” The Bible tells us that “even when we walk through the darkest valley, He is still with us [Psalm 23:4]. In Isaiah 41:13 we’re promised “I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right and hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” He is here, but we must make room. Unlike the intrusive push of the world, God will never force Himself on us, but wait patiently for an invite into our hearts and our circumstance.
So, whether we’re feeling the holidays this year or not, let’s be sure and focus on the beautiful gift we were given, and make space for His love in our hearts.
Be blessed my Friend, God is on the throne!