I always remember the church Christmas play I was assigned the role of the “Innkeeper’s Wife”. Innkeeper’s wife?! I thought. What an unimportant role. She wasn’t even mentioned in the Bible, maybe didn’t even exist. I wasn’t even the main innkeeper himself, but just the lowly wife!
But thankfully, the woman who directed the program had a plan. She didn’t say in so many words, but implied: obviously a busy innkeeper needed the sensitivity of a wife to offer hospitality and care for the new couple settling in at the stable.
I remember after being given a bit of insight into that knowledge, I realized I would be the one to offer baby Jesus a room! I acted my heart out in that position that year:
The innkeeper moved the cardboard door open. “Yes?”
“Do you have a room for me and my wife? She’s going to have a baby!” Nine year old Joseph gestured to eight year old Mary who was holding a batch of clothing by her belly.
“No room.” The innkeeper said with a trace of regret (and a lisp as he had just lost his front tooth).
The couple began to walk away.
“Wait,” The innkeeper called, “We do have a stable out back. My wife will show you the way.”
It was my turn! Edging past the cardboard door, I silently showed Joseph and Mary to the area decorated as a stable. Children dressed as sheep baa-ed and cattle mooed as Mary and Joseph settled in the hay.
“Thank you,” they said and the play proceeded with me going back stage. No lines for this little actor, yet so much was said.
Perhaps in the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-20) the innkeeper did have a wife. While he was busy serving guests, refilling drinks, answering the door, gathering wages, perhaps she scurried away for a moment to show a couple the last room left… in the stable. Perhaps she brought them extra bedding, a towel, or warm water for the birth. It’s not told to us in this version of the story, but I am willing to envision a lowly, busy, frazzled innkeeper’s wife (or lady of the house) who took a moment to prepare room for the Messiah.
What about us, friend? We, like the innkeepers that night, have busy full plates this holiday season. We are overflowing with events, presents, parties, and everything that is a part of this great season. But when the knock comes at our heart—it’s the Messiah, He’s waiting to meet with us– will we take a moment to “prepare Him room” in our hearts? We will take time to sit with Him, listen, cast aside even for a few minutes all the busyness that constantly calls our names? I’d like to think so.
The key to a meaningful Christmas is to daily prepare Him room in our hearts.
If we make space in our schedule for the King of the Universe (the one this holiday is truly all about) we will find ourselves fulfilled, peaceful, and enjoying a pleasant, meaningful Christmas.
The original meaning of “merry” when spoke as “Merry Christmas” came from a word that meant “blessed, peaceful, pleasant,” expressing spiritual joys rather than “merry” as joyous, silly.
So when wishing a friend or family member a “Merry Christmas” our true wish for them is to experience more of Christ’s spiritual blessings, peace, and pleasantness of His presence.
This is the kind of Christmas we seek in our hearts, isn’t it? A Christmas that is full of the presence of God- peaceful, pleasant, full of Christ’s spiritual blessings in our heart. That sounds like a meaningful Christmas to me!
This holiday season, Jesus says to you and me…
Peace Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Pleasantness of His presence “…in God’s presence is fullness of joy: at God’s right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11)
Spiritual blessings Col 1: 12-13 the Father, who has qualified you[a] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
I know for me, a lot of this depth of blessings, pleasantness, and peace can go missing if I don’t intentionally make space for it. How about you?
So how do we make space when our schedule already feels jammed packed with events and holiday fun galore? Become intentional.
It takes a bit of heart searching, but look for what really is a priority to you and your family this holiday season and schedule and do that. Let the rest fall to the side.
But what about my elementary child’s choir concert or classroom party? You may say. That’s not my priority but it sure has to go on my schedule.
I hear you. I am right there with you (yes look down the aisle at the concert and I will be there)! While there are certain things we can’t miss or adjust, I think if we look at things clearly, there truly is a lot we just feel “obligated” to do or feel as if it is “tradition”. But traditions lose their enjoyment if everything becomes a “tradition”. Soon our kids, who perhaps are yearning for a quiet night next to the Christmas tree once and awhile, may see “traditions” as exhausting. We often do, if we are honest, don’t we? So how about this year we do an experiment, and find the top 2-3 priorities or “traditions” we want to do and let the rest fall to the side?
I know when we allow more SPACE in our schedule for the Lord and our families—great things happen!
Let’s ask God to guide us and help us with our priorities this season. Let’s ask Him to help us prioritize Him and “prepare Him room” in our hearts this Christmas. May this be the Christmas we soak in time with Him—our Messiah, our King of the Universe— soaking in His peace, His pleasant presence, and His spiritual blessing for our lives.
Until next time,
P.S. Here’s a few snapshots of our Christmas season so far.
P.P.S. Here are a few resources I used to help me prioritize what I wanted my Christmas to look like!
“Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year” by Beth Kempton https://bethkempton.com/calmchristmas/
“Less Doing More Meaning One Hour Planner” free download at https://www.dianakokku.com
P.P.P.S. Some of the authors who have researched the Bible (Angela Hunt being one of my favorite) find it is actually inferred that Mary and Joseph stayed in the lower level of the house where the animals were (regular housing) and that Jesus was born there. She researches and writes about this in her fiction book “The Shepherd’s Wife” (https://www.angelahuntbooks.com/books/the-shepherds-wife/).
(picture by: lifeandlitblog.com)
Here is a picture of what a typical house may look like in Bethlehem. Interesting tid-bit for those of us who love history in the Bible!