Another Christmas Day is drawing to a close in Australia. What a challenging year with Covid-19 and other struggles and yet, many were able to defy its sting with some festive cheer. For some, it was an impressive display of lights on the house or in the front yard. For others, the gift-giving or the meal. We were determined to put the year behind us and have some good times with loved ones.
I cast my mind back to the Christmas story which I have been reading to my children in simple language over several installments. One thing that stood out to me this year was Jesus’ birth occurring under less than perfect conditions. Travelling on a donkey back to Bethlehem for a census would have been painful and challenging for Mary; I recall those final weeks with each of my children in the womb and how all I wanted to do was stay home. Also, Mary and Joseph arriving at their destination, only to find there was nowhere to lay their weary bodies except for a smelly stable. We would have gone to a different town and sought alternative accommodation, but they had no choice. The census was decreed and the baby was coming the night they reached their hometown. Wanting the best for our children, we sometimes buy them more than we can actually afford, yet Mary had to accept a food trough for her boy to lay in. She knew he was God’s son and that He had heavenly DNA, yet she had to humbly birth him in a smelly stable.
I wonder, with all the build up to Christmas, did we make room for Jesus? To me, there’s an emptiness when He is crowded out and replaced with counterfeit representations of hope. Jesus did not have a fancy house or designer clothes. He did not demand the latest toys or the choicest of foods as he grew… He came with purpose – to be our Saviour so our souls could live with him forever. May we find room for Him in our hearts this Christmas and always.