Written for Power to Change.
“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)
It is the time of year where we find ourselves in between family gatherings, trips to the mall and way too much food. It is also the occasion to remember what was happening just over two thousand years ago.
Some of us travel to visit family. A very pregnant Mary and a (most likely stressed) Joseph were making their way to the town of Bethlehem for a census. Can you imagine the government making us go back to our birth place to get counted? We don’t even like to fill in a form every few years.
We drive all over the city looking for the perfect gift. Some wise gentlemen were told by God that it was time to go see the King. They packed up some expensive perfumes and gold for gifts and started a trip, probably lasting many weeks if not months. They didn’t complain about airline fees and fuel surcharges like we do. They were more interested in kneeling before the King of the Jews, depending on God’s GPS, a shining star, to guide their way through the desert.
We have trouble getting to sleep as we think of all the things left to do. Mary and Joseph had issues finding a place to sleep, finally settling in a cave or a stable. The animals, although probably smelling quite awful, were a source of heat for Mary as she gave birth to the Savior of all mankind. A group of shepherds were told by angels to go and visit the brand new baby. They found Jesus laying in a manger. Imagine the distress they felt. These men knew what a manger was for. It was for the animals to eat food out of.
The trough was all that was remaining for accommodations. The hotels in Bethlehem were packed with people for the census. The Messiah arrives and is relegated to what is left over.
This Christmas, is your life flashing a No Vacancy sign when Jesus wants to make an appearance? Are the Christmas parties and shopping lists keeping you too busy to see God’s flashlight pointing out the neighbor who needs someone to talk to?
Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth and look back on one of the most important events in history. The gift exchanges and work events are good too and there is nothing wrong with having an enjoyable time with our friends. We just need to remember that the reason for the season is so that God could come down to us and save the world, one life at a time.
- Read Luke’s account of the first Christmas. Don’t read it as a story out of a book. Read it as Luke’s letter to the early church of what happened and why it actually matters in your life.
- The Messiah has come. Give Him your life’s VIP room. Whatever was in the room before can head out to the stable.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to take control of your agenda and give you the opportunity to have an impact in someone’s life this Christmas.