Christmas Eve Meditation
Is there room for Jesus to come into a heart that is cluttered with skepticism, or bitterness, or weariness or disappointment? Let every heart prepare him room!
Friends, I don’t know about you, but hearing the good news of God’s word in so many different languages gives me a glimpse of what heaven might be like, where people from every culture and nation will live in community with one another and enjoy God’s presence together.
And maybe in our heavenly home all the language barriers and other barriers that divide people will be broken down like they were on the day of Pentecost, and we will all be able to understand each other without using Google translate!
But for the foreseeable future we live here on earth, with all of its beauty, also with all of its brokenness. Here on earth, with all of our achievements as well as our disappointments. And sometimes our hearts can easily become disheartened, and we struggle with feeling alienated from each other and from God, maybe even from ourselves.
This past year, that alienation, that separation has been amplified by racial tensions, and political polarization, and perhaps most of all by this pandemic that has forced us to put up walls between us and others, to protect ourselves and also those around us.
And maybe we have also built walls to protect our heart, to protect us from feeling too much pain, to insulate ourselves from caring too much because sometimes it can feel overwhelming.
But the good news is that in this year of social distancing, God promises to come near to us through the incarnation of Jesus, as Emmanuel, God with us. The good news is that the incarnation breaks into our isolation and looks for a place to inhabit our heart.
Into the darkness of our loneliness, the light of God longs to join us and warm us with His presence.
You know, in a way, we are all play the role of the innkeepers in the story, deciding if there’s room for Jesus in our hearts.
And we wonder, “Is there room in here? Is there room for Jesus to come in, in the midst of all the clutter that is caused by skepticism, or bitterness or weariness or disappointment?
During this season as I have reflected on the state of my heart and the state of our current world, there are two phrases from Christmas songs that keep playing in my head.
One of them is really a prayer, from the song “Welcome to our World” written by Chris Rice. The prayer says:
“Tears are falling, hearts are breaking, how we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting, welcome Holy Child, welcome Holy Child…
So wrap our injured flesh around you, breath our air and walk our sod,
Rob our sin and make us holy, perfect Son of God, Welcome to our World.”
The words of this prayer lead us to an invitation, which is beautifully stated in the hymn “Joy to the Word.” The invitation is “Let every heart prepare him room”.
So tonight on this Christmas Eve, 2020, I invite all of us to make room for Jesus, to prepare a place for the Savior of the world in our hearts. Maybe it’s just a little chamber of our heart that we open up, just like the innkeepers found just a little place for Mary and Joseph out in the stable.
But that’s all the space that Jesus needs to enter into the world and into our hearts. That’s all the space he needs to wrap our injured flesh around him, to rob us of our sin. All the space he needs to touch us with his holiness, and to invade our darkness with the light of his love and grace.
Let every heart prepare him room. AMEN.