Spiritual Practice

Christmas Welcome

Angela Jelf & Andy Clapp

Knock, knock, knock!
“There’s no room here. Can’t you see we’re full?
This town is bursting at the seams; give next door a call.”
Knock, knock, knock!
“You’re pregnant? Oh. We’re sorry for your plight.
You’d be welcome any other time but, sadly, not tonight.”
Knock, knock, knock!
“In labor? What? The baby’s coming soon?
Our cattle shed’s the only place that’s got an inch of room.
You’ll take it? I was joking. It doesn’t smell that great.
Well. OK then, I guess we’ll have to talk about the rate.”

Knock, knock, knock!
“I am here, standing at the doorway of your heart.
I’d love to come and eat with you, my grace to you impart.”
“Oh. I’m really rather busy: I’ve a turkey to prepare,
I’ve got a Christmas party, and I need something to wear.
Maybe come back later, perhaps in the New Year?
I have so much stuff to do; it’s that crazy time of year.”

Angela Jelf [London, England]

Manger2 FTR TSP 116142664Every year, we hear about Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn. We wonder how an entire town, the town of Bethlehem, could see a young pregnant woman and her husband and not make room for them. How could the couple be overlooked? Wouldn’t people open their hearts and their doors for the soon-to-be parents? Why was no one willing to give up his or her room in the inn when Mary and Joseph were so obviously in need of shelter?

But before we get too self-righteous, let’s stop and take a look at ourselves. Friday night we are going caroling. We have Christmas parties with friends and family to attend. We have to go shopping and study for exams. We’re learning our lines for the annual Christmas play, and we don’t want to miss the Christmas parade. The list of holiday activities goes on and on—and before we know it, Christmas is over and we have forgotten to take time to celebrate Jesus. There was simply no room for him in our busy schedules.

After all Jesus has done for us, how can we fail to make room for him, especially during this season when we claim to be celebrating his birth? This year, let’s cut out things that don’t matter and make room in our hearts and in our schedules for the one who does matter, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Let’s welcome and celebrate the one who came to earth to show us how to live and to give his life for us.

Dear Lord, remind us of the reason we celebrate Christmas, and draw us close to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Andy Clapp [Whitsett, North Carolina]


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