The festive, glittering decorations, the well-lit trees, and the well-wrapped gifts of this season can distract us from the main event we are preparing to celebrate: the birth of a baby. As I reflect on what Christmas means, I realize that celebrating a birth has always been the natural focus of this day for my family. My mother gave birth to her firstborn son on Christmas Day. Early on I learned that while my brother’s birth took place at home in a warm, comfortable room that had been prepared for his delivery, Mary’s circumstances were not so pleasant.
Because of the Roman census, Joseph and Mary were forced to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to the city of David, called Bethlehem, in Judea. They were going to the home of Joseph’s ancestors, but there seems to have been no family for them to stay with. Scripture only notes that Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (v. 7).
Isn’t it stunning that there was no room in the inn for the one who came into this world to prepare a home for us? There was no place for Jesus, who as an adult will say, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (Jn 14:2-3, NIV).
In all of our holiday festivities, may we remember what my family could not forget. This day is about the birth of a baby, a Savior who reminds us of the importance of having room for all and that every birth matters.
What keeps you focused on making room for Jesus?
God, thank you for Jesus’ birth. Help us live with your love, purpose, and mission. Amen.