COLUMN: Let every heart prepare him room

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My son loves inflatable holiday decorations. The giant reindeer outside of Holland Patent and the Santa Clause on top of the Utica fire department are his two favorites. I have lost count of the number of times he has asked me if we could get an inflatable for our house. I love his enthusiasm for the season.

Christmas has a way of revealing our innate desires, perhaps repressed or buried beneath a pile of pain but nonetheless present. Our desires to be known, for love, freedom, justice, approval, and belonging all lie at the core of who God has made us to be.

The Christ story of Christmas introduces us to God’s plan to meet those desires.

The classic Christmas song Joy to the World presents Jesus in such surprising language. “Joy to the World the Lord has come, let earth receive her king.”

The language of a king is a bit fanciful in our day, more the thing of novels and movies than personal experience, but with a bit of creative imagination we can place ourselves in the setting. And as we move back thousands of years in history we begin to consider the question; ‘How should a king be received?’

For the Romans the announcement of a new Cesar caused everyone to take notice. It caused the hearer to reconsider their way of life and their relationships. A Roman’s life revolved around the one who held that position. Yet Jesus did not come like Cesar.

The Scriptures recall that Jesus was announced to shepherds in the fields, there was no room for him in the inn, and the regional political leader attempted to kill all the children to remove any challenge to his throne. This is not the story we would write for the earth’s king. Instead we find a picture of God becoming flesh entering into the human experience. 

This story is filled with the language of invitation that so reflects the life of Jesus. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.” - John 3:17

Joy to the world’s lyrics continue saying, “Let every heart prepare Him room.” John’s revelation gives us this picture, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” - Revelation 3:20. Do you hear the language of invitation? God invites each one of us into a relationship through His son Jesus Christ.

May we respond rightly and make room for Jesus this Christmas season.

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