December 16, 2011
Making room for Jesus
What a trip.
At the time of Jesus’ birth a census was being conducted which required people to return to their place of origin. It was while Joseph and Mary were traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem that Jesus made His entrance into the world. Can you imagine being 9 months pregnant and riding on a donkey?
It was a birth not fit for a King.
The interesting thing about babies is that when it is time for them to be born they don't care where the birth takes place. Despite His royal lineage Jesus was no different. In the timing of things there were no fancy hotels or hospitals with elaborate birthing rooms. Apparently a lowly stable, much like a damp and dingy cave, was the only place that they could find to stay. And there Jesus was born--and laid in a manger.
Prophecy was fulfilled.
But have you ever wondered about the circumstances surrounding Christ's birth? Bethlehem? During a census? Crowds of people weary from travel. No place to stay. The Son of God came to this earth and God did not even arrange for a room for Him. He was of the noblest of origins yet born in a stinky stable because Bethlehem was the place where the prophets had said that Christ would be born. And it happened just as they said according to God's plan and timing.
Christ enters into the mayhem.
I would imagine it was utter mayhem with people traveling near and far. Wasn't it obvious, even amidst the chaos, that Mary was in a delicate condition and needed a place that was warm and clean to give birth? Apparently that didn't matter.
There was no room.
God could have snapped His fingers and cleared a room indoor. Yet in reality, not only was there no vacancy at the inn, there was really no room for Jesus--period. The Jews were looking for a royal king not a baby born of a virgin. They did not have any room in their heads or their hearts for this kind of King.
Yet He arrived and a few worshippers came.
A handful of people saw the star, heard the voices of angels, and came that night to welcome Him into this world. They had room for this One of whom the prophets had spoken. They made a journey to see and worship Him because they had simply opened the door of their heart to let their Messiah—the King of All Kings—enter in.
What if we had been there?
Would we have behaved differently? Would we have been more mindful of situation and squeezed Joseph and Mary in to a room even if it meant putting someone else out. Absolutely. We would have never allowed Jesus to take a backseat to the hustle and bustle going on around us. Right? Wrong.
We're guilty of doing the same.
We have a room, our heart, designed especially for Him but often He stands outside knocking in an effort to get in because we've left Him out. Space issues, crowding, time management issues are problems for us just as they were in Bethlehem.
We try to make room for what is important.
Church, family, friends, jobs, sports, etc. can be hard to juggle. We want to have time and space for Jesus in our hearts and lives. Yet, often when we truthfully examine things, we discover that we have room for everything and everyone else but very little room for Him. We're fitting Him in between texts, tweets, and status updates and a long list of other things because we often fail to prioritize.
It's not just about the amount of space but the place.
Perhaps we've made it more difficult than it is. Making room for Christ requires little—but for us it seems to be a lot. Jesus is looking for a totally vacancy in us. A place that is swept clean of sin and selfishness, a space that is set apart for Him not only to visit but also to come and dwell in. He wants to be our number one priority. He wants first place.
So Jesus comes knocking.
In the book of Revelation Jesus is standing on the outside of the church knocking to get in. Can you hear it? The knocking has already begun. Day in and day out Jesus is seeking to gain total access to our lives. Very often we casually send Him away until another time. How sad for us and for Him.
Putting Christ back into Christmas.
We increasingly talk about the push to put "CHRIST" back into Christmas. It is a nice sentiment, however, a seasonal relationship with Jesus is not enough. When Jesus was born into the mayhem of Bethlehem He came to stay. He is looking for a place to dwell within each one of us. Not just during Christmas but every day of our lives.
"God wants full custody not weekend visitation." Author Unknown
The question is, will we give it to Him?