As they rounded the corner onto main street, they stopped and gaped at the throngs of people. They knew that many would be in town at this particular time. Truly, they had not expected this. The street was in utter chaos… a thousand people, a thousand demands, a thousand voices all competing to be recognized, to be heard.
He was lean and strong, yet a simple man. His hard and calloused hands were assurance that he was a craftsman or artisan of some sort. Her dress was common, plain, but there was a simple beauty, an inner grace or perhaps it was peace. Whatever it was, it was compelling and visible to all who saw her. He slipped a supporting arm around her waist and led her into the noisy street. The first order of business was to find a place to stay for the night.
From one inn to the next, they pushed through the clamoring masses. Inn after inn, he plead their case, “Please sir, my wife is with child and her time is near. She desperately needs to rest. I beg you, find room for us?”. “No room”, came the harsh reply, “Away with you”. Time and again, they were turned out into the cold dark night.
Hours later, and at the far end of town, they paused, exhausted, discouraged, and desperate. As he looked into her eyes, the weariness, the immediate need, and her silent tears tore at his heart. Just then, he heard the gentle lowing of a distant cow. Turning, he searched the nearby hillside until he saw what he was looking for. Gently, he slipped his strong arm around her trembling body, “Come”, he said.
You may think that you know the rest of this story. But how can you know the rest of a story that has no end? This story is meant to continue through you and through me.
What if you make room for Jesus in your Christmas? What if you allow a quiet peace, that only he can offer, to fill your home and fill your heart? If you do, will those you love sense that something is different? Will they see more of warmth and joy in you? And as they do, will a soft word replace a harsh reply? Will there suddenly be time in the hustle of the day for a tender smile and a gentle touch? These things will happen if you first make room for him.
What if you make room for Jesus beyond Christmas day?
What if you make room for Jesus in your marriage? Will you find it easier to remember those wonderful qualities that caused you to fall hopelessly in love? Will you fall in love all over again? Will you discover a desire to call in the middle of the day for absolutely no reason at all? Will there be more of stolen kisses, playful hugs, dancing in the kitchen… more of heartfelt love? These things will happen if you first make room for him.
What if you make room for Jesus in your family? Because children love to emulate their parents, will they become more thoughtful? Will they become better children and grow into better adults? Will they find it easier to have a family of their own that is bound by love and acceptance instead of fractured by criticism and anger? These things will happen if you first make room for him.
What if together, we all make room for Jesus in every aspect of our lives? Will neighbors cease to fight and instead become cherished friends? Will every child be welcomed and accepted? Will anger and violence be replaced with patience and understanding? Will the world become a better, richer, and more glorious place for us all? These things will happen if we first make room for him.
Merry Christmas to each of you… and remember to set an extra place at the dinner table for him.