When we visited my sister and her family over the Thanksgiving holidays, she had a lovely guest room prepared for us. It was cozy and comfy and separated from the rest of the house, so it was almost like staying in a hotel. . . but with all the benefits of being at home.
The kids stayed upstairs in their cousins’ rooms. We dragged in extra mattresses, utilized couches, made some of them double up, and everybody had a place to sleep. It was a lovely holiday that none of us will soon forget.
It might’ve been easier for my sister if the six of us had stayed in a hotel close by. But it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun or meaningful.
And as we approach Christmas, meaningful is what we’re all looking for.
Most of us, much as we are willing participants, like to moan about the evils of materialism and commercialism and their association with our favorite holiday. We all have a little Charlie Brown in us.
What we really want is for Christmas to mean something more than just gifts and food and decorations.
Can I let you in on a little secret?
Christmas will only ever mean something if Christ means something.
Most people who celebrate Christmas will tell you it’s all about family, about joy, about giving. I would say those are nice fringe benefits. But Christmas isn’t about those things.
Christmas is about Christ. It’s about God becoming man. It’s about love coming to earth in human form to save beloved creation from its fallenness.
The unfortunate truth is that many people today don’t have room for such nonsense.
We’ve diluted what it means to be a Christian.
- If you put a tree up in your living room every December and an inflatable Santa in your yard, then you must be a Christian.
- If you know the lyrics to “Joy to the World” and you give nice gifts, then you must be a Christian.
- If you donate to charity and feed the homeless and attend the local Christmas Eve service then you must be a Christian.
Nobody’s saying there’s anything wrong with any of it. (Except perhaps the inflatable Santa.)
But those things are miles away from what it means to be a Christian, a Christ-follower.
Want to know what it means to be a true Christian at Christmas-time and every other time?
Being a Christian means making room.
It means that within your heart, your soul, your psyche, or whatever you want to call it— you make room for the Savior of the world.
It means you move stuff over, or better yet, move stuff out. Get rid of it altogether. Because so much of the junk we cram into our hearts never belonged in there in the first place.
Being a Christian means opening, softening, welcoming Jesus into your life in a way that means He takes up permanent residence. Once there, he’s home. He’s staying for good.
So that means serious preparations are in order.
Let every heart prepare him room.
To prepare, we have to clear out the clutter and make room.
We’re all familiar with the story of there being “no room in the inn.” Do we learn from it, though?
If we squeeze things in tight and try to shove Christ into our hearts for one short season, but then push him out the door on December 26th, have we even made room for him at all?
I wrote about it the other day, this saying of “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” And if by that we mean that Christmas is celebrated in honor of Jesus’s birth, then yes, technically the saying is true.
But we make a huge mistake when we relegate Jesus only to one season and then neglect to make room for him the rest of the year.
The Life-Changing Magic of Christmas
This year I didn’t put out all the decorations. We were gone the entire week of Thanksgiving and I worked so much the first two weeks of December that it just didn’t happen. Now that we’re only a couple of days out, I’m pleased. Christmas is coming anyway and the house looks festive enough. I’m looking forward to not having to take down as much come January. I’m even wondering where I can purge and get rid of some old Christmas paraphernalia that no longer brings me joy.
If you’ve read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up then you know that author Marie Kondo’s philosophy is to keep nothing in your home that isn’t useful or doesn’t “spark joy.” We’ll all be doing some de-cluttering come January as we attempt to tidy up our homes and our lives for the new year.
But what is the purpose of de-cluttering? It’s to make room for things, activities, and people that are more meaningful than the clutter.
That’s the life-changing magic of Christmas. Instead of acquiring more stuff, the meaning is found in making room.
- We purge and we clear and we remove obstacles.
- We pull out mattresses and freshen up linens and light a candle in preparation.
- We soften up our spaces and our hearts, letting go of resentment and anger and discontent and self-hatred and all the million other things that weigh us down.
And then we open our hearts and our doors and our arms and we welcome the Savior in. Not just for Christmas. But every single day of the year.
If you welcome Him, dear reader, if you invite Jesus in and make room for Him to stay, two beautiful things will occur. First, He will take up residence with you. It’s a promise on His part, that if you give him a place to live, He’ll live there indefinitely. Second, He will — in true Marie Kondo fashion — spark joy beyond belief. He will give your Christmas — and your life — true meaning.
I pray more than anything this Christmas season, that you will prepare in your heart a room for Him, the Jesus who longs to abide with you. It’s the only way I know to experience the life-changing magic of Christmas–on December 25th and beyond.
Merry Christmas, dear ones. And a blessed and joyous new year to you and yours.
*Disclosure: Affiliate links included in this post.