“Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room.”
Christmas Is Here
The lights are up, the decorations are out and the sales are on. Christmas is here! Every year it sneaks up on me even faster. Maybe that’s just because every year the stores roll out their Christmas inventory earlier and earlier.
But Christmas isn’t here just because the tree is up and carols are playing in the mall. According to the Bible, Christmas is here because Christ is here. Luke chapter 2 tells us the real Christmas story. Joseph and his bride-to-be, Mary, went to Bethlehem for a government ordered registration. And in verses 6-7 we read, “And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
So what does it mean that Jesus was born?
It means that God came near. In Matthew’s gospel, we are told that the baby Jesus would be called Immanuel, which means, God with us (see Matthew 1:23). So when Jesus came, God came near.
Isn’t that an incredible thought? God – the eternal God – who is outside of time, stepped into human history. God – the omnipotent God – powerful enough to create the universe was conceived in a womb. God – the holy God – was pleased to dwell with sinful men.
God came near! Let that sink in for a moment!
No Room in the Inn
Yes, God came near on that holy night in Bethlehem, but according to the Bible we need more than just God to come near, we need God to come in. John 1:12 teaches us that “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” It’s not enough for Jesus to have come; he needs to come into our lives in a personal way.
Luke 2:7 provides a picture of this for all to learn from. 2,000 years ago, on that cold evening when Jesus was born, God came very near to this innkeeper, but there was no room for him. He came near, but he didn’t come in. And part of the Christmas story is this: God has come near to us by Jesus coming to the earth, but each of us has to make the decision to invite him into our lives by receiving him by faith.
Prepare Him Room
Now we shouldn’t be too hard on the innkeeper. Hindsight is 20/20 so it’s easy to look down on him as if he did something wrong. But he had no idea about the significance of the child that he turned away that night. You and I on the other hand know the significance. Unlike the innkeeper, you and I know that God came near that night in Bethlehem. But like the innkeeper, we have a choice to make about whether or not we are going to make room for him or turn him away from our lives. Choose rightly this Christmas season!
And for those of us who have chosen rightly by making room for Christ in our hearts, here’s your takeaway truth: just like the innkeeper, many of our friends and family members don’t understand the significance of Jesus’ birth. So let’s take advantage of the opportunities we are given as we celebrate Christmas to share the true meaning of Christmas with everyone!