I find it fascinating that we celebrate Christmas in the winter. Winter is the most dead time of the year. The evergreens are the only plants courageous enough to demonstrate life. They give us what little color we can find in our days. This isn’t saying that winter isn’t beautiful. It is. The snow as it covers the ground provides a beautiful blanket. The icicles that hang delicately from our homes provide a beautiful frame to the picture. Winter is a balance between hope for spring and embracing the present.
When we look at Jesus and really think of what is to come, it’s really a matter of embracing hope and understanding the present. At Christmas we celebrate the arrival of the baby. We understand what it means for us. We know this child is the one who will save us. But the key here is will. He will save us. He saves us in the future in this story. He saves us as a grown man, willing to give his life to give us hope.
So many people are willing to come to celebrate the arrival of the baby and embrace the hope he brings but how many stick around for the ending? How many are willing to embrace the ending of the story? What about Jesus as a man that is so hard for us to embrace?
I think it’s easier to embrace a baby. It’s easier to accept a baby than a man who’s willing to give it all for us even after we’ve rejected him. Think about it. Who makes us uncomfortable in the Christmas story? The Innkeeper. The man who’s not even in the bible (that’s right – look it up). We don’t like him him. We wonder how he could send a pregnant woman to sleep in a stable? We ask how he could be so cruel?
Sometimes it seems like we don’t like the Innkeeper because he’s so much like us. He sends Jesus away and he doesn’t do it on purpose. The Innkeeper, the character we really know nothing about is probably most like us. He’s a busy, overworked man who doesn’t know what’s up or down. We know that life is busy. There’s always something to do. Something has to give and usually, if we’re honest, that thing is Jesus. It’s not that we don’t depend on him, believe in him or want to worship him, it’s that we think we don’t need to set aside time to do it. The innkeeper in our story is too busy to notice, to busy to care. How many times in our own lives have we been the innkeeper?
As we celebrate this great arrival into our lives on a cold winter’s night we need to realize what a great gift this is. Like the evergreen tree, Jesus is always there. Even when we are like the innkeeper, Jesus is always there. This Christmas let’s celebrate that gift. Let’s celebrate the one who comes and loves us even when we reject him time and again. For no matter how often we turn away, he’s always waiting to welcome us back. This love is amazing. This love is a miracle. This is the love we’ve been waiting for in the winters of our lives.