And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. – Luke 2:7
It is Christmas time again. For many people this is the most beautiful time of the year, for others not so much. Memories and thoughts of things not being where they had hoped it would be by the time of the year or people and things they may have lost during the year or well before, might be the only thought on their minds. Still a few may be surrounded by family and friends and still find themselves extremely unhappy and lonely. These situations, while present throughout the year, are especially heightened at this time of the year. I remember clearly facing the most trying situations throughout 2017, thinking they would have let up by the end of the year and still facing some more around the holiday period. It is easy to lose your firm hold and feel like everything is working against you, but hang in there, God is fighting for you in ways you cannot see or even understand and you will see evidence of this, if you will hang in there just a little longer.
Christmas messages around this time are almost a norm and I’m sure we have all heard many in our lifetime. My prayer is that, the messages do not just become boring tradition to us but that, we will really listen, understand, meditate on and put into action what we hear. If we listen well enough, we may actually receive a personal word that we can go on to share with others. This happened to me today while watching a Christmas Production from a church on YOUTUBE. The production itself was so well done and quite riveting. I followed attentively till the point where the Inn-keeper mentioned that the was no room at the Inn for Mary to have her baby, Jesus. I truly have heard this story nearly every Christmas, this time I received a different message.
Although the Inn- keeper’s initial message was that there was no room at the Inn, he was able after a while to make room in the most unusual place for the baby to be born. The manger. The place where the animals slept overnight, ate and left around their feces and urine. Probably the last place anyone would think to send a guest or customer for that matter. I am thinking he could have been generous and let them into his own room at the Inn but that may be a little hypocritical of me, as I probably would have thought LONG and HARD before doing this and would actually have thought myself quite generous for even creating room when I didn’t have to.
The manger, the dirty corner, the filthy history, the mangled past, the shameful story, the place where we would least like to see people stroll into, the part tucked nicely behind the house and away from everyone else’s view. Yet this very place comes to mind because all the better parts of our lives have been signed off to others. And so out of options, we let him in, into our hearts, into our tucked- away dirty past. In there, the wonder of His birth occurs. Wise men with their gifts, shepherds with their joy and gifts of worship and hosts of mighty angels soon flood this very place we had so well hidden away. Wisdom, healing, joy, peace and love fill this place that was just animal food and urine. The very transformation that occurs in a heart that welcomes God (come to man as man) in. It is no longer just a manger anymore. It is the birth place of the savior. The birthplace of the very message of hope and the start of greater wonders to come.
Heaven came down at Christmas. God, wrapped in human flesh, came to show the world He had created, yet again, how to relate with Him. He walked in, not into the plush, fancy, air-conditioned room, but to the less desired place. He can handle your mess, there actually is no time for you to clean up first before letting Him in, He asks to do this for you. And when you have let Him in, trust hat this filthy manger of your heart and life will start undergoing a renovation like non other and will be host and home to miracles like never before seen.
So, this Christmas and the days ahead, I want to encourage you to make some room for this King to be born in your manger. You don’t even have to clean it up first, you just have to remember it is available and let Him in. He can’t wait to come in and make things right for you.
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6
May this be your best Christmas yet! The year you truly let Him in and allowed wonder to grow and thrive in your heart and life. Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.