As I think back over the years, I have many incredible memories of Christmases past. Memories of dinners around the table with family. The hours spent on the chair lift learning how to ski and then ignoring all such lessons to race my brother to the bottom of hill. The mapped-out tours of Christmas lights around town, scheduled down to the second in hopes of seeing every house before the lights turned off for the night (which we never actually accomplished). The fancy Christmas parties with promises of McDonalds afterwards if we pretended to eat food we had never heard of. The pizza dinners and ping-pong tournaments with my cousins. The Christmas Eve nights spent in my brother’s room watching scary movies that he knew would keep me up all night.
Most of those traditions have changed over the years, especially after Will and I got married.
But the thing that hasn’t changed is the story. And there’s just something about this story. There’s something about its familiarity. And there’s something about its message.
In just a few days we will gather to hear the familiar story yet again. The same story we hear year after year. Maybe it is so familiar that you could even recite it.
Yet we keep telling it.
Over and over, year after year, we tell the same story because there is no other story in scripture that so clearly illustrates God’s desire to be in relationship with us. Because in this story God came to earth as a baby, the Word became flesh.
In the story, Luke writes, “There was no room for them in the inn.” And so, tradition says that Jesus was born in a stable, but somehow in that stable there was room for all. There was room for Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, room for the shepherds and their sheep, room for the angels.
Even in a story where there was no room, God makes room.
In God’s story, there’s always room.
And maybe we need to hear the story again and again, because maybe again this year we need to be reminded that God is always making room.
And so, whether you join us on Christmas Eve or not, take a moment to read or to listen to the story again. And I hope you discover that there is room for you too.