They welcomed a baby into their world and were told to call Him Immanuel, which means “God with us”. They displayed Him – God – in the form of a baby, in a manger, on a bed of straw, with the stench of the barn animals and noises that go with them. As strange as it might sound to some, this was a regal moment in an environment that was clearly less than stellar for a King. They were afraid, they had anxiety, they had fatigue. Yet they welcomed the shepherds that night. And later, the wise men. They were open to whoever would show up to worship this king.
Over the years, truth be told, I have become bored with the Christmas story. Maybe because I am so accustomed to hearing it. And partially because I have experienced, first hand, the conditional sharing of Jesus from some believers. In my journey, I am learning that I want the meaning of Christmas to be an experience carried throughout the year and not one event that happens in December. Christmas music, on the other hand, can start 2 weeks before and not a minute sooner. LOL!!
So, every year, I pray that God would rewire me, so I can hear what He wants me to hear in this season of my journey. Because He is such a faithful God, He has done just that, yet again. He is revealing something this year that I hadn’t ever considered. Something simple in a new and fresh way hidden in the Christmas story.
What is it? You ask?
…Let me tell you. (using some creative license of course)
I have given birth to 3 sons and I assure you, I wasn’t “people ready” that soon after giving birth. I had no interest in hosting guests. How did Mary do it? How did she welcome the shepherds to her “home” so soon? How did she put up with all those “unwanted” smells in that space?
Here it is…
“Immanuel”. God with us.
Mary had God with her, so she welcomed the strangers into her home. She didn’t know them. She didn’t know that they would arrive. The shepherds had angels to announce the arrival of Jesus and the wise men had a star to follow till they found His specific location. But Mary had no announcement, she didn’t have a butler, nor a maid, nor any technology that would give her a heads up that they were coming. She didn’t have time, energy, or reason to clean up the stable for these unexpected guests.
She welcomed them because she knew they were coming to see Jesus.
Will this be the experience in your home this Christmas or throughout the year? Will you welcome guests into your home so they can experience Jesus? Or will you be caught up with the hustle and bustle, cleaning, prepping, and complaining, all in the name of Christmas?
To my Christian friends, this is “doing missions”. You don’t have to leave your neighbourhood, town, city, state, or country to express your missional heart. You only need to open your doors.
Make room at your table. Make room in your story. We can give what we do have.
If you have Jesus, you can give Him freely to those around you. Don’t distract them or allow yourself to be distracted with all the trimmings of the season. Let them see the real you this Christmas and help them experience Jesus through your story.
I think when Mary pondered in her heart the realities of becoming the mother of Jesus, perhaps she understood this in a very deep and intimate way. She knew that Jesus would be the Saviour of the World and so she freely shared Him without expectations. What a great example for us today.
I believe God births things in us not just as a gift for us but for those around us.
Over the past several years, we as a family have struggled to feel welcomed into certain relationships, certain homes. No judgement, only forgiveness.
We used those times to welcome those who didn’t have a place to go and made the most of the experience in our home, despite the pain we may have carried deep in our hearts, sharing what we had and welcoming whoever God brought our way.
Jesus offers you the same kind of welcome when you come to Him.
As you head into Christmas, I wish you a time of celebration, peace, and joy!! May you feel the presence of God through the gifts you give and receive and through the smiles and laughter all around you. If your season includes tears of sorrow, know that He catches every tear and will one day pour them out over you in the form of blessings.
January is around the corner and I hope you don’t forget that “God is with you” still!!
Merry Christmas to all and please know that you are always welcome in my story!
Thank you for joining me on my journey,
What is God birthing in you?
Who is God asking you to welcome into your story today?
Do you extend the welcome you received at the cross?