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Make Room for Jesus this Christmas.

December 13th, 2010 Posted in sermons

Have you ever had one of those birthdays when you wanted people to throw a party for you?

You wanted them to buy some nice gifts. You hinted at what gifts you wanted and even left maps to the places where you wanted them to shop. You were hoping someone would get the idea of throwing you a surprise party. You were certain that every time you went out to dinner with a friend that people were going to jump out and yell, “Happy Birthday!” You were looking forward to it with great excitement. But nothing happened. The party never took place. In fact, it seemed like people forgot your birthday. Or worse yet, they remembered it but failed to acknowledge it.

Christmas is a Birthday.

In theory, that is what Christmas can be like. It is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. In contrast to your birthday or mine, everyone recognizes it. Everywhere we go, there are reminders that Christmas is coming. Merchants want you to shop till you drop and spend money. Shoppers, in turn, can get psycho about getting good deals. Two years ago on Black Friday, a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death as the crowd rushed into the store to find a few savings. And last year, a woman was trampled at the entrance of a Toys R Us in Tennessee when the store opened its doors. Thankfully, she survived.

The reason for the Season.

We all need to just relax a little bit and remember what this season is about: it is the time when we celebrate Jesus’ birth. In the midst of our activities and preparations to celebrate Christmas, how often do we forget about the honored guest? We string our lights. We trim our trees. We talk about Christmas. We hear recorded songs mentioning the birth of Jesus. But how many people actually take time for him? We run around the malls and buy things for everyone we know – and even some people we wish we didn’t know. But we can forget to make room in our schedules for Jesus.

It happened the first time too.

This is not a 21st-century phenomenon alone. It happened in the first century as well, on the very first Christmas. Mary and Joseph had been biding their time in Nazareth. It was getting closer and closer to the day of her delivery. Then suddenly an announcement was made that everyone had to be taxed, and everyone had to go to their initial hometown for this to take place.
Because Mary and Joseph both were descendants of King David, they made their journey to Bethlehem, David’s hometown. When this announcement was made, they probably thought about it as the greatest interruption, hassle and perhaps a mistake on God’s part. Why would he want Mary to make this long, difficult journey to Bethlehem this late in her pregnancy?
The reason was that God is a stickler for detail. Scripture had said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, so that is what Mary and Joseph had to do. They had to go to Bethlehem.

We romanticize Christmas.

As we think about the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, we can romanticize this in our minds. We imagine a full moon with the silhouettes of Mary and Joseph against a starlit sky, and soft, angelic music playing in the background.
The fact of the matter is this was a very hard journey. It would have been difficult under any circumstances, but the fact that Mary was so late in her pregnancy made it even more so. It was approximately a 90-mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and in those days, people would travel about 20 miles a day. They didn’t travel a flat, paved road, but rugged terrain that would go up and down. It likely would have been in the dead of winter, with temperatures in the 30s. At night, it would have been freezing cold. Add to that the dangers in the forest, with lions, bears and wild boars, not to mention the potential threat of robbers and bandits.

No room in the inn.

Mary and Joseph probably comforted themselves with the thought of a warm bed waiting for them in Bethlehem. But that was not to be the case. When they finally arrived that night, they found that every place was full. The innkeeper told them, “There is no room here,” and he sent them out to a stable, possibly a cave, where the Savior of the world was born.
We hear this story and wonder what the deal was with that innkeeper. How could he have been so indifferent? Where was his heart? But I think that innkeeper was like a lot of people at this particular time of year. They are just too preoccupied. They are interested in the buck – and in the innkeeper’s case, the shekel. He could obviously see that Mary was ready to give birth. He could obviously see she was in discomfort, but there wasn’t enough money in it for him. The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about this innkeeper. We can sort of let our imaginations run a little wild and wonder what really happened on that particular night when he turned them away.

Make Room for Jesus.

This symbolized the entire ministry of Jesus and his life on earth from the cradle to the cross. He could have been born in the most elegant mansion or on the ritziest boulevard in the Roman Empire. He could have come from aristocratic parents, boasting of their pedigree or great learning. He could have had the finest clothes and attended the most exclusive schools. Instead, he was brought to us in a place like a cave and had a manger for his cradle. The fact there was no room for him at the inn was indicative of the treatment that he would receive throughout his entire earthly ministry. One telling passage is found for us in John’s Gospel where it says, “And everyone went to his own house. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives” (John 7:53–8:1). Everyone went home for the night, but Jesus went to sleep out in the open air on the Mount of Olives.
There was never room for Jesus. And today, there is just no room for him in so many situations. Is there room for Jesus in your life right now? As we enter into the Christmas season, and as we prepare to start a new year with new opportunities, will you make room in your life for him?

7 Responses to “Make Room for Jesus this Christmas.”

  1. kristina kier says:

    god bless your ministry. thank you and merry christmas

  2. Rossy Cordova says:

    Pastor Laurie: I am very grateful for your ministry. I listen to your programs every day on my way to work. Thank you for this reminder of what is the real reason for the season. We all need to make room for Jesus in our hearts. Thanks again for this inspired message. You are a God’s instrument for His Kingdom. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

  3. Nathan says:

    This is a well written story. Christmas time is my favorite time of year. However, I get sad watching how people become “gift crazed” each year. Christmas is about the birth of Christ; our focus needs to be on Him. Not on how many presents we have under the tree or how big they are. I also wanted to say that you are by far the best pastor I have heard. I am 18yrs old and live in Amarillo, TX. I listen to your podcasts on my phone, and love each of them. They challenge me to think and see things in a new light. You are one of the few pastors that has not let the “power” go to your head, and I admire you for that. You don’t put yourself above everyone else and do not paint a picture that you are perfect. It’s refreshing to hear that you have your times of doubt or questioning as well. You are a true man of God, and I believe what you are doing is great. I try every day to be the best Christian I can be with your podcasts inspiring to become even greater. I wish you and your family a Merry CHRISTmas. :) Thank you for all you do.

  4. Shai says:

    Hi!

    Thank you for this wonderfully written reminder of the true spirit of Christmas. Too often we really do forget what we are celebrating, too wrapped up in our own wants and needs.

    I am a victim of this… I think I’m a little too selfish, always asking the Lord to answer my prayers, but forgetting His teachings.

    I hope you continue to touch other people’s lives through this gift of writing. God bless and Happy Christmas :)

  5. Vicky says:

    I cannot imagine the discomfort Mary must have felt traveling that way – she must have been perplexed knowing that God had the power to arrange for Jesus to arrive in a more luxurios manner and I wonder if Joseph was stressed out worrying that the baby might arrive before their destination I bet there was alot of praying and trusting going on throughout the journey. Since Mary and Joseph trusted God to fulfill his promise, how much easier it should be for us – we are called to step out in faith and trust God with the details of our lives. Thanks Greg for sharing this. Looking forward to Thursday in OC.

  6. Kevin says:

    Pastor Greg,
    Thanks for this timely message and putting the story into perspective. We so much need to make time for Him, during this season and throughout the year.

  7. Matthew Humphrey says:

    Thank you Pastor Greg for such a beautiful message. We all need a reminder something to make room for Jesus in our hearts and life. Can’t wait to hear the message this Sunday.

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