What are you doing for Christmas?

‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ is a question often asked at this time of year as people are purchasing presents and planning family festivities for ‘Christmas with all the trimmings’. Our Prime Minister says, “’Tis the season to be jolly, but ’tis also the season to be jolly careful”. With all the talk of ‘tiers’ and ‘Christmas bubbles’, it may well be a Christmas without all the trimmings, as people experience ‘lockdown loneliness’ and ‘residential restrictions’. What will your Christmas this year be like?

But what is Christmas? A time to enjoy food and fun with all the family? A time to overeat and overdrink? A time to celebrate? … but celebrate what? It has been said that if you remove Christ from Christmas, all you are left with is M & S, which just about sums up the commercial and consumer focus of the season.

It is often stated that ‘Christmas is all about the family’, and many people are very concerned and are complaining about the heavy restraints and prohibitions that families will have to put up with this year as their freedoms are severely curtailed. We are even being told, “Don’t kiss your granny!” 

But we must never forget the origins of Christmas, and the distressing circumstances that a unique and very important and special family faced that first Advent. The Word of God tells us:

“Joseph travelled from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea … with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him, and was expecting a child”

We are told that this was no ordinary child, but that the Holy Spirit had come upon Mary, for she was a virgin, and the baby conceived in her womb was the Son of God, a truly miraculous conception. The Lord told Joseph not to be afraid, but to take Mary as his wife, to have no union with her, but when the baby was born, to name Him: “Jesus (the Lord saves), for He will save His people from their sins”

“while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born, and Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger (an animal feeding trough) because there was no room for them in the inn”

Can you picture the scene?... a perfectly normal birth ~ in the abnormal situation of an animal shelter ...

 no National Health Service … no friendly, caring midwife … no helpful drugs … no hot water

no soap …no antiseptics … no shower … no clean towels and sheets … no comfortable bed

Excluded from the surrounding society, isolated in a lonely bubble with dirty, smelly, noisy animals, Mary gave birth to the Saviour of the world, wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in the straw.

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son … to be the Saviour of the world”

I am sure it was the happiest bubble in Bethlehem!

That is why Christians make room for Jesus at Christmas, He is the Centre of the Celebrations.

No room for the baby at Bethlehem's Inn,
Only a cattle shed,
No home on this earth for the dear Son of God,
Nowhere to lay His head.
Only a cross did they give to our Lord,
Only a borrowed tomb,
Today He is seeking a place in your heart,
Will you say to Him "No room"?

 

O Lord, in my heart there's a welcome for Thee,
Gladly I now would say,
Come in, blessed Saviour, my heart and my life
Henceforth would own Thy sway.
Long has Thou waited and long knocked in vain
Outside my heart's closed door;
O cleanse me from sin, then, dear Lord, enter in
And dwell there forever more.

While the world around tries to celebrate in its family bubbles, but says that there is no room for Jesus, where will the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the world be in relation to your life this Christmas? Will He be in your bubble? Will He be sharing your loneliness, your isolation? You may be separated from your family, but if you have asked Jesus to forgive you for your sin, and invited Him into your life as your Saviour and Friend, you will never be lonely, or isolated however separated and excluded you may be from others.

Ron Brickman