A Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
When the birth of Christ occurred we are told it took place in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7) We don’t know why there was no room. Perhaps the computer lost their reservation? Maybe Bethlehem was a one-horse town and didn’t even have a Holiday Inn, so travelers were staying with relatives and friends. It doesn’t say Mary and Joseph were rejected. Bethlehem was probably overcrowded with people coming to register for that required census. Maybe there was just no room for them in the main part of a house so they had to stay out back. All we know is that the Bible says there was “no room in the inn” for them. Which is a little prophetic because many in the world don’t really hate Jesus or dislike Him; they just don’t have any room for Him in the main part of their lives.
In the 1600s the French enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher Voltaire had little use for religion. He was walking with a friend when they passed a church. Voltaire raised his hat as they passed. The friend said, “I thought you didn’t believe in God.”
Voltaire said, “Oh we nod, but we do not speak.” I think that’s how a lot of people feel.
Actually, that’s one reason I love Christmas. It’s a time when people who may only have a nodding acquaintance with Christ, or don’t even want to believe in Him, subconsciously acknowledge His existence. It warms my heart to hear an atheist absent mindedly hum or even sing “O, come let us adore Him” or “joy to the world the Lord has come” with the background music at the mall while Christmas shopping.
There is irony in atheists singing about adoring Christ the Lord. There is irony in them celebrating a holiday about Christ’s birth. They may try to say that’s not what they are celebrating but how can they get around it? Christmas literally means Christ’s Mass. So ironically, whether people want it to or not, it commemorates and celebrates Christ’s birth!
Biblical events show that God is not above a little irony. He blessed Sarah and Abraham with their son Isaac when Sarah was beyond childbearing years. A mere shepherd boy named David killed the giant Goliath. Joseph’s brothers relied on him for deliverance, even though they sold him into slavery. And perhaps the greatest irony of all was the birth of Jesus.
People were looking for a Messiah with a flaming sword. Even though Christ’s birth fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophesies concerning everything from his lineage to where he would be born, people did not recognize him. They were expecting someone strong and powerful, not a helpless child. They were looking for a king, not a baby born in a manger. The irony of it all was that this baby in the manger was the King.
He was called Emmanuel which means God with us. (Matthew 1:21-23, Isaiah 7:14) God became one of us. Miraculously, the Word became flesh and lived among us. This Savior for sinners brought salvation to everyone – from the poorest shepherd to the richest Magi. John tells us about Christ becoming flesh in John 1:14 and goes on to say, “We have seen His glory.” But many did not see Christ’s glory. Just like today. Many cannot see His glory so they do not make room for Christ in their lives. However, ironically they celebrate His birth!
Consider this… While we may not make room for Christ in our lives, He always makes room for us. Christ makes room for everyone from the poorest shepherd to the richest Magi!
One verse of Joy to the World says, “Let every heart, prepare Him room…” That’s good advice. Christians know this is not just something we should do at Christmastime, but every day of our lives!
Suggestions for practicing this choice…
- Make room for Christ by daily by participating in a relationship with Him. Think about Him throughout each day.
- Stop focusing on yourself and focus on Christ. (Hebrews 12:2)
- Stop focusing on yourself and focus on others. What you do for others, you are actually doing to Christ. (Matthew 25:45)
- Try to spend a little quiet time with Christ asking Him to surround you with His calm, peace, and love.
- It’s Christmastime so sing those Christmas hymns and carols with gusto! We have much to celebrate! Joy to the world! The Lord is come!