Trying to get more space for our large Christmas day meal, I suggest that, “We should put the nativity scene onto a smaller table and move it into the corner”. That would free up a large amount of space in the living room, enabling the dining room table to overflow into that area. We would then have lots of freedom to entertain, eat, and celebrate. In light of this, I couldn’t help but think about the space these Christmas decorations take up.
There is the tree, the wreaths, the presents, the special festive cups and mugs, Christmas décor was everywhere. These adornments are all nice but now we were getting to the place of organizing the meal, arranging the table. We need room for the family, the guests, and the food, especially the food. The concept of moving the nativity crèche would increase the capacity for our celebrations. As we pondered how best to solve the dilemma, I thought, “This is the way it was the First Christmas.” The coming of the Christ Child was very inconvenient, it did not fit nicely into anyone’s plans:
- Mary as an unmarried virgin was pregnant – a social faux pas for that culture and time.
- Joseph, Mary’s husband to be, contemplated silently putting away Mary and the child she was carrying.
- Herod the king, in planning to kill the child, definitely did not want the child around.
- There was no room in all of Bethlehem, so the mother and child-to-be were pushed into a little space in a barnyard manger.
Then I was challenged, would I react the same way? In the midst of all the good plans and rushing, would I push Jesus into a small corner of my activities, my mind, and even out of sight? In discussing with my wife Susan, we made a decision. “Let’s keep the nativity scene on the big table, let’s keep it in the awkward place in middle of the family room. Let’s not push aside the visible presence of Jesus in this festive season, because it makes our life temporarily easy.”
As we pondered other aspects of Christmas we realized that it is easy to push Jesus into a small corner of our lives, when this season is supposed to be all about Him. It may be awkward or inconvenient to:
- Attend a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service;
- To pray before the family meal – knowing that there are non-Christians in the midst;
- To talk about what Jesus has done in your life;
- To take time to be interested in others when they are so boring or self-consumed;
- To minister to those that are wounded or hurting.
In our business and plans, it will be easy to push Jesus into the back corners of our activities, lives and hearts. Yet the challenge of Christmas is that Jesus came as “Emmanuel – God With Us”. Will we make room for Him, will we let Him work in us and through us?
Have a wonderful Christmas, experience the life and power of Jesus Christ within you. God Bless you, Pastor Keith & Susan Eberhard.