Christmas 2014! We are blessed far more than we could ever deserve! The Christ-Child who became the crucified Savior is the biggest and best blessing of all.
We’ve been talking this month about making room … when Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem (in order to be counted in the census and register in their home town for tax purposes), Luke 2 tells us the newborn baby was laid in a manger “because there was no room for them at the inn.” The Gustave Doré image above offers one depiction of the scene.
Making room is what people used to do. The Chronicles of Narnia is actually the story of four children who were displaced during war time and sent to a “safer” place to live. The other day I saw some photos of little ones being carried in a postman’s bag because they were being “mailed” to live with relatives!
During hard economic times, families have often made room for living together. This was true for my mom’s family; after her daddy died, her mom (my grandmother) moved in with her sister’s already extended family which included their mother (my great-grandmother). It was also true for my parents following World War II. Because of a housing shortage, they lived in the home of my dad’s parents until after I was born.
We don’t always like to make room. It’s inconvenient. It cramps our lifestyle today having others live with us. Our culture has come to accept that even small children ought to have their own rooms. That being the prevailing practice, making room for others becomes problematic.
In Mary and Joseph’s Bethlehem, when the innkeeper had no lodging in his establishment, he still made room for them in his stable. These far-from-deluxe accommodations allowed Jesus to be welcomed into the world beside sheep and cattle. Though this might seem incongruous, I think it was fitting for the Son of God to be born among lowing cattle and bleating sheep. These were His creatures, His creation and He loves them!
I think about those creatures. They knew Him. They recognized who He was. I think their lowing and bleating was likely joyous … He’s here! He’s honored us by allowing us to witness His birth! Imagine how exciting that must have been for these “dumb” creatures!
Today’s sonnet presents the ordinariness of family, but hints at a family extraordinarily transformed by the living Christ. As we make room in our lives for Christ, He gives us an expansive heart for others.