Merry Christmas! Can you believe that the most wonderful day of the year is almost here! The weather is brisk and the lights and decorations are beautifully displayed across the city! Christmas songs are being played, the yule tide greetings displayed, and little kids are lining up at the malls to get their picture with Santa. But even with all the excitement and commotion in the air, the unfortunate reality is, most people will miss Christmas this year. And the truth is, people have been missing Christmas for a long time. Even during that miraculous night when Jesus was born to Joseph and Mary, nearly everyone missed that first Christmas too. You see, just like people today, they were busy. They were distracted by all the chaos and noise of life. Their hearts were consumed with things, some important, some not. But nearly everyone missed Christmas.
We are introduced to one of these people in the 2nd chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Though the details are few, Luke writes of an innkeeper who was confronted by a man and his pregnant wife. Now, the innkeeper had an opportunity to help them. But instead, he turned them away saying that he had no room for them. And in doing so, he missed Christmas. He turned Mary and Joseph away, and apparently, he didn’t even call for anyone to help this young lady who was about to give birth!
Now, this would have been a highly unusual for a young woman who was in labor to be turned away from an inn and left to give birth alone in a stable. Yet, that’s exactly what happened that night. She was turned away and left alone. There was no midwife to deliver her child. The Bible doesn’t even mention that Joseph was present. But even if he was, as a first-time father Joseph probably wouldn’t have been much help to her. And after Jesus was born, there was no one to clean Him up and wrap him in a swaddling cloth. Luke tells us that Mary did it herself. And where there was normally a cradle or basket for the baby to be laid in, we are told that Mary had to lay the Son of God in a feeding trough. All because the innkeeper was busy. Think about it, this man could have witnessed the greatest day in the history of the world! The Son of living God might have been born on his property. But instead, he turned this young mother away. Why? because he was preoccupied with all that was happening around him. His heart was distracted. And in doing so, he missed Christmas!
We might ask, why was he so preoccupied? Because his inn was full, and his inn was full because the town was full! Do you remember why Joseph and Mary were in the town of Bethlehem? It was census time. Bethlehem was likely wall to wall people and that innkeeper was likely really busy dealing with all the people and commotion. Simply put, he had become distracted and was unable to see what truly mattered. But if you take a step back and think about it, not much has changed in 2000 years, has it?
You see, there is no reason for Satan to change his tactics when the old ones work so well. Just like this innkeeper, how easy is it for us to get our priorities out of whack? Have you ever noticed that the time of year that should be filled with peace and rest is actually the most chaotic and stressful? We fill out schedules with everything from shopping, banquets, parties, concerts, school activities and a host of other things that fight for our attention. And in all of the commotion, all the clutter of activity, the most important thing gets lost, Christ.
If you were to do an honest assessment of your life’s priorities and time management, have you allowed yourself to be distracted from the one thing, the only thing that truly matters this Christmas season? If you have, I have good news! It’s not too late. Make this the day that you celebrate Christ as your most special treasure! Get in His Word, make Him known to those around you! Jesus is not just the reason for this season, but for every day of our lives! He alone is worthy! We would love for you to come and worship with us at Pathway Christian Church of Harlan during our 5PM Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Hope you have a merry, Christ centered Christmas!