Posted by: morgan1965 | December 22, 2011

Making Room for Jesus on Christmas Day

The Advent Season is a time of preparation. It is a time when we make room for Jesus by preparing room for Jesus in our hearts and minds.

I have fond memories of my childhood when each Christmas season, we would prepare to receive our dear relatives who would make their annual visit to our home for a few days. We had to make room for these folk. That meant that we children had to give up our beds and make room for the adult relatives. I forgot about being displaced, because I was excited about their visit, especially my grandfather.

My mother worked very hard to get our home ready for Christmas each year. She would clean rooms, scrub floors, wash curtains, and make the house ready for Christmas. Dad would make a place for the Christmas tree. On Christmas day, all would be in readiness to receive our relatives.

I ask myself each Advent Season: Am I ready to receive Jesus on his birthday? Have I made adequate room in my heart?

We are preparing to move as I approach my retirement from the active episcopacy. A significant challenge is to sort through all of our earthly belongings and get rid of the things that we no longer need. There is also the matter of the accumulated junk. Junk has a way of cluttering all available space. Our retirement home simply will not accommodate the junk. The junk has to go, if we are going to have adequate space for living. We are making some progress in this regard.

That’s the way it is with Jesus. Too often we find ourselves crowding Jesus out of our lives because we have so many other things going on daily. We have to adjust the daily schedule so that there is adequate time for prayer, bible study and reflection. We also have to make time to go to church for worship, study, and fellowship. That’s what I call “making room for Jesus.”

Life tends to be a clutter of things to do. All of us have a “to do” list. One by one we check off our accomplishments. We find a way to get done all that we have set out to do, sooner or later. Some of what we do, however, is not really important when it comes to being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

Some persons have asked: Will there be Sunday worship on Christmas Sunday? (Christmas 2011 happens to fall on the Sabbath Day.) Does the question imply that one might be too busy on Christmas day opening gifts, receiving family and friends, and preparing the holiday feast to have time for attendance at church? Surely we have time to worship the Christ child on his birthday when it falls on the Sabbath day! This personal decision might have something to do with “making room for Jesus.”

The Advent Season also has to do with “expectation.” Unfortunately, there is perhaps a low expectation on the part of congregations relative to church attendance on Christmas Sunday. For example, most Christmas cantatas were presented on the Sunday before Christmas Sunday, rather than on Christmas Day, the Sabbath Day this year. My hunch is that we do this because we don’t have a high expectation for church attendance when church attendance conflicts with Christmas Day – gifts to unwrap, toys to play with, dinner to cook, travel to grand mom’s house, dinner to eat, and time to sleep.

I am looking forward to church worship attendance on Christmas Sunday, the Lord’s Day. Hallelujah! Praise God!

When folk heard that Jesus was in the neighborhood, they went to see him. Some wanted to be touched by him so that they could be healed of their illness. Zacchaeus climbed a tree to ensure that he would see Jesus. The result was that his life was transformed. Mary declined to help Martha with dinner preparation so that she could have conversation with Jesus. She deepened her relationship with Jesus and enhanced her understanding of his ideas.

Isaac Watts captured the essence of making room for Jesus in his popular Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World” (The United Methodist Hymnal, #246).

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing…”

Christmas is coming and we need to make room for Jesus.


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