A Room With A Phew

Life Notes—December 23, 2009 

“While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:6-7  

I am told one of the major ‘growth’ industries in the US today is storage.  It seems many of us have no place for all our stuff. As a nation we spend billions of dollars per year renting space for our things, and the construction of storage units continues unabated. 

For many of us the story of the birth of Christ is so familiar we miss its raw brutality.  We think of the stable with cuddly lambs and tame donkeys and we think, “Ah, how quaint!”  We see a baby wrapped in clean, soft cloth, lying in a manger of fresh hay and think, “Oh, isn’t that nice!”  We think how romantic it was, perhaps, there was no room at the inn, so our Lord could be born in such an ecologically diverse environment. 

But the reality of the stable was probably very different.  It was likely a dark, dank cave that smelled like an unventilated feed lot.  It was probably very noisy, dirty, crowded and disgusting.  If there was fresh hay in the manger it certainly would’ve been claimed by one of the animals long before Jesus was born.  Although I do not know for certain, I suspect the words manger and mange have similar origins. 

A few years ago our church adopted the theme, “Making Room” for Advent.  I wrote a song based on the theme and the first verse went like this:

        Is there room in my heart for you?  Is there love enough here for two? You send a baby, how could I refuse? But is there room in my heart for  you?

What about us?  If a very pregnant Mary and Joseph, claiming to carry Divinity, a peasant family from far away, knocked on our door tonight, would we find room for them?  Would we even say, “Oh, you can stay in our garage!  There’s no heat, and the concrete floor will be hard and cold, and watch out for the oil spills from the cars; but at least you’ll be out of the elements!”  Or would we just say there is no room at our inn? 

Relationships require time, attention and space.  If we want to cultivate a closer relationship with Christ, we must arrange our lives to make accommodation.  And there is no better time to begin than Christmas Eve.  The baby is looking for a room… 

There are five Christmas Eve services at First Church this Thursday evening.  The Celebration Center will have services at 4:00 and 6:00.  Traditional services will be in the sanctuary at 7:00 and 9:00.  The Life service will be at 10:45 PM in Brady Hall.  The theme for all services will be “The Promises of Christmas.” 

Come home to worship!  Make this the year you make room for your Savior!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator


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