December 6, 2021
By Gina Padilla
“Joy to the World!
The Lord has come.
Let earth receive her king.
Let every heart prepare Him room!
And heaven and nature sing!”Joy To The World
Almost everyone knows the words to this familiar Christmas carol. I sang it every Christmas season for years and it was only recently that I began to pay attention to the words.
“Let every heart prepare Him room.”
As I began to think about that, I wondered why our hearts needed to make room for Jesus. I mean Jesus lives in our hearts, right? So why would we have to make room? Wouldn’t there already be room for Him?
As I wrestled with this, God began to show me that my heart was not necessarily “prepared” for Jesus. My heart had been filled with other things. So many in fact that there was no room for Jesus. It reminded me of the story of Mary and Joseph when they went to Bethlehem for the census and ended up finding shelter in a stable and that’s where our glorious savior made his arrival into this world.
Although I know now that the innkeeper and stable are not even in the bible. The word “inn” that we read in most of our bibles in Luke is the Greek transliterated word kataluma which means a lodging place or guest room, not a Holiday Inn. Most scholars believe Joseph and Mary stayed with family probably on the lower level of the home where the animals were kept (our equivalent of a garage), which would be why Jesus was laid in a manger.
Now, as a kid I was taught that there was no room at the inn, so Joseph and Mary were relegated to the stable. Every Christmas pageant always had an innkeeper usually with a wife that would say, “There’s no room. There’s no room.” As a kid I remember thinking, “What is wrong with that innkeeper? How can he refuse, Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus? Doesn’t he know who they are? Doesn’t he know the Savior of the world is about to be born?” But that’s just it. If there had been an innkeeper, he wouldn’t have known who they were. Mary and Joseph were just poor pilgrims in an overcrowded town who happened to be pregnant.
Right now, Jesus is asking for room. He’s asking for room in our overcrowded hearts, but the innkeeper isn’t telling him there’s no room; we are. Our lives are busy with work, children, schedules, workouts, doctor appointments, cooking, meetings, school, carpool, soccer practice, dinner engagements, concerts, pageants, parties, football, bowling, shopping, television, and social media. Just look at your calendar and bank account. Your priorities are where you spend your time and money.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:21 NIV
As Christmas draws near, we need to ask ourselves, are we ready? I don’t mean are the presents bought, the tree trimmed, or the food prepared? I mean, are our hearts prepared? Have we purged all extraneous distractions that are taking us further from Jesus? Are we focused on Him and not our busy schedule this season? Have we declined an engagement or two, so we are not too over-scheduled to spend time thinking about, praising and being with our Savior?
This season, take inventory. As you look at your To-Do List, make sure that “Time with Jesus” is at the very top. As you spend time with Him, your heart will be filled with glorious joy that will last far beyond the Christmas season.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!”Luke: 2:10-14 NKJV
Photo Credit: Greyson JoralemonHire