Over twenty centuries ago, in a non-descript, Middle Eastern village most people had never even heard of, people wandered about in mindless, mundane activity preparing to pay taxes to the Roman government. To capture the excitement that must have permeated the place, try visualizing how you feel every April 14th - the day before your annual taxes are due to the U.S. government. Obviously, it’s not a festive time. Nor is it anything special or cause for any sort of celebration.
It was in that setting the God of all creation decided to descend in frail, human flesh in the form of a newborn baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Why not have the “Savior of the world” born in a palace or presidential suite of some swanky five-star resort? Why not orchestrate the most important event in all of human history during a less stressful, more enjoyable time of year for everyone?
Why? Why now? Why here? Why this way?
Part of God’s plan included a couple of young, peasant parents knocking on doors where normal people normally stay. But there was no room. A common carpenter with coarse hands and weather-worn features from working too many long days in the sun, building things for others, merely wanted a room for his young wife and soon-to-be-born child.
But Joseph and his wife, Mary, an expectant teenage mother carrying the Hope of all mankind within her, were turned away by people who said they “had no room.” No room for Hope. Think of it.
But it was part of God’s plan. God brought Hope, anyway, into the world ... in spite of the circumstances. In spite of the welcome … or lack thereof.
Fast forward to today. Christmas. 2021. It’s a different time but there are some similarities. For starters, it’s the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Yet, there are still tons of people who have no room nor time for Him. Many are still wandering around in mindless, mundane activities, completely oblivious to the obvious. For many, the focus isn’t taxes but economic collapses, COVID-19 variants, lost jobs, foreclosures, folding 401(k)s, and frustrating times.
Gloom seems to seep into almost every room. No matter where you go. No matter who you are. No matter where you live. And too easily, too often, once again we squeeze the Hope of God right out of our lives. It’s like we’re saying all over again, “Sorry, we have no room.”
Some rationalize their response by their rotten circumstances. “You don’t know what we’re going through.” “How would you like to lose your job?” “How can we have a Merry Christmas when we don’t have enough money to make our mortgage payment?” And on and on it goes.
But wait a minute. I said there were similarities between what’s happening now and what happened then. No, not another nativity scene or another manger. Not another baby born in Bethlehem. But I do believe God still wants to bring Hope into our world. And yes, I still believe that Hope is JESUS, His Son.
In spite of the trying times we find ourselves in, irrespective of the challenges before us, I believe God is once again bringing Hope to our hurting world. Can you imagine that even in these most desperate of times Almighty God might be delivering another terrific plan that somehow results in more good than we could ever imagine? Read Romans 8:28-31 lately?
HOPE is here. You may not feel it. You may not see it. But Hope is here. In the verses before Romans 8:28, Paul told the Romans, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:24b-25).
This Christmas, don't make room for the gloom and doom that dominates so much of our world. Instead, make room for Hope. Make room for JESUS.
When you make room for Him and the hope only He can bring ... your best days will always be ahead.
That’s something worth celebrating.
© 2021. Barry L. Cameron.