Since the first Christmas, Jesus has been looking for us to make room for Him.
But in the trappings of Christmas we can become trapped. We get wrapped up in the wrapping and sold on the buying. Or maybe, just maybe for some of us, the precious simply becomes predictable. The most uncommon event the world has ever known becomes a common story, like Rudolph and Frosty and Ebenezer Scrooge.
And Jesus gets relegated to the stable, the nativity scene in the corner of the room.
We may even see through the brash commercialism and want to keep Christ in Christmas, so to speak. But our familiarity breeds not contempt, but something worse—boredom. And that is unacceptable—Jesus and boredom simply can’t coexist.
I know that it’s almost cliché to be reminded that Jesus is the real reason for Christmas. But let me risk cliché—and hopefully blow right past it—to say this:
The real passion of Christmas is found in making room for Jesus in our hearts and lives.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
I read those familiar verses again I am struck that making room for Jesus, an idea first found in this birth narrative, is repeated throughout His life.
There was no room for Jesus and His fam at His very birth and Jesus never laid claim to having any room on this planet seemingly already too crowded for Him. “Foxes have holes and birds have nests,” He told one would-be follower, “but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58)
The only room He ever had was room people made for Him. He only goes where He is invited. Mary made room when she agreed to carry Him in her womb. Matthew threw a party for Him. The Samaritans put Him up in their town for a couple days. The apostles made room. Another Mary and her sister Martha and brother Lazarus seemed to provide room and board frequently for Jesus.
And ironically, another Joseph made room for Jesus by lending Him his tomb.
All His life, from His birth to His death, people were making room for Jesus.
Will we join in this lineage and make room for Jesus? We can.
It is no use saying that we are born two thousand years too late to give room for Christ. Nor will those who live at the end of the world have been born too late. Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts.
But now it is with the voice of our contemporaries that he speaks, with the eyes of store clerks, factory workers, and children that he gazes; with the hands of office workers, slum dwellers, and suburban housewives that he gives. It is with the feet of soldiers and tramps that he walks, and with the heart of anyone in need that he longs for shelter. And giving shelter or food to anyone who asks for it, or needs it, is giving to Christ.