As the Christmas season and the year 2015 draw to a close, here is perhaps a final thought on Christmas that will carry us through the year. This Christmas was very special in that I had the opportunity to see all three of my grandchildren on my daughter’s side of the family perform in a traditional Christmas play at their church. It was a simple, humorous, and yet endearing performance that made their pawpaw’s heart burst with joy and pride. On Christmas morning, I had the privilege of reading the account of Christmas from the Bible to my two grandsons on my son’s side of the family. I read the version from Luke Chapter 2, and they were very attentive. This put the whole importance of Christmas morning in the proper perspective. As I read, I saw a note in my Bible from Christmas Eve 1996 which tied these two recent family experiences together. That year of 1996, the Lord pointed out something from the Christmas scriptures I had never noticed before, and it had to do with the Christmas play.
The Luke Chapter 2 version in the Bible is the one that contains all the people you would see in any traditional Christmas play. There is Mary and Joseph, and the baby Jesus born in a manger where cattle and sheep might feed. Angels told nearby shepherds what had happened, and they visited the baby and worshipped Him. The heavens were filled with a multitude of angels who praised God for their Savior. Matthew Chapter 2 tells of the visit of the wise men from distant countries. These three men came to seek the Son of God, and they brought valuable gifts with them. These are the characters we expect when we think of a Christmas play. It is not hard to visualize these individuals and the roles they portray, and this may take one back to a time when he or she played one of these roles in a Christmas play.
In 1996, the Lord pointed out to me there was another role in the Christmas play that is overlooked, yet everyone gets to play that part at some time in their lifetime, not necessarily at Christmas. That character usually missing from a traditional Christmas play, and only subtly mentioned in the Luke Chapter 2 account, is the innkeeper. Joseph knew the Son of God was about to be delivered, so he knocked on the door of the inn looking for a room to see if that is where Jesus could be born. The inn was already crowded and full. The innkeeper said there was no room for Jesus to be born there. Jesus would have to be born somewhere else, maybe down the street at the stables.
The Bible says that before the end of this world would come, the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be preached in every nation. That means that everyone will have the opportunity to have heard the good news of the Gospel, and to decide if Jesus would be invited into their hearts. Everyone will be given the opportunity to accept or reject their own new birth, which would include welcoming Jesus into their hearts. This is done by confessing He is the Son of God, and believing He is raised from the dead after dying for our sins. We further say He is the Lord of our lives, and invite Him to come anew in our born again hearts. This is happening every day and every hour all across the globe, and in that sense, the events of Christmas are continuing to unfold. It never ends. It certainly is not over on December 26.
When the Holy Spirit knocks on the door of our heart, will there be room for Jesus to come in? Is it crowded in our heart with other matters, cares and concerns? Is it full of other activities such that there is not time or thought for Jesus? Everyone will have the opportunity to answer these questions. Jesus will come alive in someone’s heart this hour, this day, this night. If we say no to Him, He will have our answer, and will go on down the street to be “born” somewhere else. We simply cannot send Him away as the innkeeper did. We may not get a second chance, and the consequences of our decision are eternal. We must say “yes”, even if it means throwing out some things that have previously crowded Him out of our hearts.
My prayer for all who read this is that this matter is or will be settled in your heart in 2016, and you will allow Jesus to fill your heart to overflowing with His grace, mercy, forgiveness, power and love. May you feel like a new person, truly born again into a new eternal life. Say “yes” to Jesus and invite Him in. You are the innkeeper, and the lock on the door to your heart is on the inside. Only you can open it. Will you continue to make Jesus’ birth the Never Ending Christmas?