Make Room For Joy This Christmas
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." ~ Luke 19:5-7
Christmas is a time of reflection and a time of expectation. Christmas for the Christian has far deeper meaning than merely putting up decorations, or exchanging gifts, and singing seasonal songs. So this season, we want to remember the coming of Jesus, the promised Messiah, God’s beloved Son, our gracious Savior. We want to celebrate hope entering into the world, love coming down, good news of great joy, and grace upon grace coming through the Son of God.
So as we approach Christmas, let’s give time for serious reflection. You may ask why? Well, a song we will all hear this month contains the words, "Let every heart prepare him room." The irony is that most Christians realize Christmas is about Christ, but so often Christ is crowded out of Christmas by all the secondary things we assure ourselves aren't the main things! We get caught up in the busyness, spend lots of time shopping for gifts, and lots of time planning family gatherings and Jesus finds little room. Jesus wanted in Zacchaeus's home. He wants in your heart, to dwell there powerfully (Ephesians 3:17). Let him in. Make room for him. Don’t give him just a little room up in the attic with all that stuff collecting dust. No, give him the run of the house. Open all the doors and closets and let the King of glory come in. You will have to let go of control, but ultimately you won't regret it!
If we approach Christmas with serious reflection leading us to prepare our hearts to be a dwelling place for Christ, what exactly should we be looking forward to? For Zacchaeus, the moment Jesus said, “let’s go to your house”, he came down from the tree and “received him joyfully.” Did you get that? As you open yourself to Christ this season, deliberately making room (all the room) for Him, what should you expect? JOY. How could it be any other way? The message from the angels to the shepherds was “good news of great joy.” (Luke 2:10). David knew prior to the coming of Jesus that in God’s “presence is fullness of joy,” (Psalm 16:11), and Peter speaks truly that intimate acquaintance with Christ inevitably leads to being filled with “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8).
Right now some might be thinking, "Should I clean up a little? I mean there are some messy rooms in my house. Some rooms haven't been touched for years." No, just let him in as it is... as you are. It drove the Pharisees crazy that Jesus was so eager to enter the homes of sinners, but this is why Jesus came. He came for people like you and me – to come in with his transforming life and joy. He came to make our run down shack his palace (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Maybe you have so much heavenly joy it is coming out of your ears. But if that’s not the case, then this Christmas season make room for joy by making room for Christ. Or put another way, make room for Christ with the expectation of joy – inexpressible joy!