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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

At this time of year, our "To Do" list can be longer than some of the lines we find ourselves standing in. So many things to do, gifts to buy and wrap, boxes to ship, decorations to hang, events to attend, special dishes to make, menus to plan, and envelopes to address, our fear (and many times our focus) is trying not to forget anyone or anything. At night we collapse in our bed, exhausted, only to lie awake thinking of all we still need to do.

If this is an accurate description of you, don't feel guilty. Our fast-paced, 21st century lives have done this to us. We've simply been sucked up into the rush by virtue of the fact that have families and friends, and we're involved in church. Those are all good things. But if we aren't careful, they can be the very things to exhaust us in the midst of a time when we should be quietly examining our hearts, clearing out the clutter to ensure Jesus has center stage.

I'm certainly not advocating foregoing family celebrations or church events. No, we need that corporate worship time together, bonding as one in grateful praise for the Baby who came to die for us. Taking time to focus on the coming of Jesus in our family celebrations can teach our children to understand that Jesus is more important than Santa Claus. I am reminded of the Christmas story we read every year. The words are so familiar, we sometimes blur over them without stopping to study their full meaning or consider the depth of the circumstances.

Take, for instance, the innkeeper in the 2nd chapter of Luke. Nothing is actually said about him. We assume he was a gruff sort who waved Mary and Joseph away, growling that there was "No room in the inn". I've often wondered if that man ever knew Who he turned away. He had no way of knowing Mary carried the very Savior who could save him from his sins. Did he ever find out later? Did he regret not making room for them? Could he have given up his own bed?

Now, put on the garb of the innkeeper. The city is all a-bustle with people coming for the census. Crowds are pressing, tired children are cranky, people are weary and their feet hurt from standing in line, they're hungry and trying to find a place to eat, and they all have an agenda. Sound familiar? And here you are, the innkeeper. Your stress level is at the breaking point, you're exhausted from serving these demanding people, and late at night you hear another knock on your door. You heave a sigh. No, go away, there's no more room.

Fast forward to the 21st century. You have more shopping to do, if you don't get this box shipped today you're going to have to pay through the nose to get it delivered on time, your Sunday School classes is having a party and you have to bring two dishes, your in-laws are coming for dinner and you still haven't cleaned the house, you have to run to a different store because your regular store was out of an ingredient that you must have, one of the strings of lights on the tree has quit working, you just found out you're supposed to bring an exchange gift to that Sunday School party, the Toys For Tots commercial on TV pinches you with guilt, the Salvation Army guy ringing the bell looks at you expectantly and you don't have any cash, you just remembered you forgot to get a gift for a certain person who will be offended if you don't give them anything...and there's a knock at the door. Not the front door of your home, the door of your heart.

Joy to the world, the LORD has come, let earth (us) receive her KING.

Will you clear a space? Will you find room? Will you give up your own place? Is Jesus more important than Santa Claus, menus, shopping, or agendas? Maybe the innkeeper didn't know Who he was turning away, but we do.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.

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