Over 2,000 years ago, the mother of Jesus was turned away from every inn and hostel in Bethlehem. The most important man in the history of the world was born hours later in a barn. Brings a whole new meaning to, ” Were you born in a barn?”, doesn’t it?!
I have been guilty this Christmas season of not having room in my inn. In my ideal world, everything about this season is about preparing for and celebrating Jesus’s birth. But in reality, I am as guilty as anyone of getting caught up in the hustle-bustle: the shopping, the wrapping, the Christmas-card-sending, the baking, the play-practicing, and the party-prepping. While each of these things on its own is well intended, the craziness of it all together keeps my heart distracted from what is most important.
Do you know what my 7-year-old daughter wrote in her letter to Santa? She asked for “Barbies with articulating joints”, a white board, and “more time with my family.” Hmmm. Have I even made room for my kids this holiday season?
I don’t think I have failed them altogether. We have had a lot of fun together, and they definitely know that Jesus is the reason we are celebrating! But have I made room in my inn for what’s most important? Have I been intentional in praying for each family member as I wrap their gift? Have I made a point of spending time with my children in a way that makes them feel loved, important, and heard? Have I been so distracted with work and taking care of others that I have neglected those right under my own roof?
One of my favorite Christmas carols is “The Little Drummer Boy.” I love how he doesn’t have anything fancy to give Jesus like the Wise Men did. So, he gave Jesus what he had–his time and his talent. He played a song for him on his drum. Jesus himself said the kingdom of heaven is for the little children, so innocent and with love so pure.
Jesus doesn’t care if the bows on your gifts are just right. He doesn’t care about the gifts. It won’t matter to him whether or not your Christmas cards get mailed on time, or mailed at all. What does matter is if there is room in your inn, in your heart, for Him…and for his children. It is more important to just spend time with your grandmother this Christmas, than to buy her something she probably doesn’t need anyway. It is more important to slow down and listen to what your children have on their minds than to cram in one more Christmas event. Jesus didn’t need the finest hotel or best house in Bethlehem to make his entrance, and we don’t have to have a Pinterest perfect Christmas to celebrate his birth.
We just need room in our inns.
This Christmas, my prayer for you, and for myself and my family, is that we slow down long enough to see and know what is really important, and that we take that knowledge, and that true spirit of Christmas, and let our lives be dictated by those things that truly matter.
God bless, Allison Key, MD