The first problem encountered by God when He came to earth was space. There wasn’t much room for Him. Fortunately, His body and ego were small enough for a teenage womb and an animal trough.
However, Christ’s crude Bethlehem accommodations were soon welcoming and making room for others – local hill shepherds and foreign kings. When He started His ministry He wanted people to be with Him and made space in His company for fishermen, insurgents, tax collectors, mystics and women. On His lap he made room for children. In his agony He made room for a thief.
Making room in His soul, schedule and scruples was His life. He’s now making room for us in paradise. (The One denied a room by a few of us is preparing rooms for a whole bunch of us – how like Him.)
How could such a small, in-a-trough-one-minute-in-Egypt-the-next refugee have so much room? He brought it with Him. The incarnation, observed C. S. Lewis, was not so much heaven coming to earth as it was heaven drawing earth up into itself. The inside of that stable suddenly became much bigger than the outside.
And we, by giving Jesus a small but real place in the hovel of our lives, find ourselves placed in His glorious spaciousness where there is room to stretch, to share and to spare.
This Christmas, people from other countries and cultures have travelled to our busy and bustling Bethlehem-ish towns. At the best of times there is little room for such guests; there is less at Christmas time. “We have traditions and, after all, Christmas is about family.” If Jesus has come to your family, you have room – room for another family who have no family; a little room for someone to experience Christmas. Room to spare.
How do we make room for God and for others (an inseparable pair) amidst the increased clutter, clamour and cramp of Christmas?
By remembering that the first Christmas brought us room – immeasurable room and unlimited resources – enough for extra time to meditate, extra patience in a store, an extra chair at the table, an extra gift under the tree, extra expenses, extra energy to sing and smile, to listen and laugh. Room for all.
Could your home be a “Holiday Home”? Ask our spacious God who he’d like you to make room for this Christmas. Ask your local multi-cultural association or international student centre who would like to be invited. Or maybe it’s a neighbour or even a church member or one of your kids who is wondering if you have room to spare.
Submitted by Paul Carline, Director of InterCultural Ministries