Find room this season

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Do you remember that one Christmas you knew exactly what you wanted? You could have cared less if you received a thousand gifts for Christmas, there was only one thing that mattered. You cut out pictures from the Christmas catalogs and ads to strategically place them around the house to be "discovered" by mom, dad, grandparents, whoever -- it didn't matter as long as they took the hint that this is what you wanted.

Christmas Eve you slipped into bed thinking not of sugar plums but "I hope I don't get socks and underwear!" The possibility of what might be there was exhilarating; there was no room for anything else in your mind.

The first Christmas was surrounded with excitement. The streets of the normally quiet village of Bethlehem were bustling with excitement. Impromptu parties with those seeing each other after years of separation were held in the homes and inns. In the excitement of the time there was no room for anyone else.

One couple was seeking room where there was none. The innkeeper turned them away. His rooms were full. Yet out of the kindness of his heart he gave what he had: a stable that offered shelter from the cool night air and privacy for the child that was to be delivered at any minute. There was no room. Plenty of excitement, but no room.

Whether or not you share the Christian traditions of that young couple, it is all too easy at Christmas to find no room. No room for compassion. No room for justice. No room for the poor, the orphan and the hungry. Plenty of excitement but no room remains.

In the excitement of the season it is so easy to press out what matters the most. The bustling excitement of finding the perfect gift can overshadow the one who is to receive it. Frustratingly trying to fit everyone's busy schedule into a couple of hours to make room to celebrate overshadows the reason you want to be with them.

At Christmas it is too easy to push out what is most important replacing it with what is most urgent. The possibility of what might be overshadows what has come, what has changed, what has given hope

This Christmas make room for hope. Make room for love. Make room for joy. Make room for Christ. Make room for Christmas.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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