Prayer: Tonight and always, Lord Jesus, help us to make room in our hearts for others and for you. Amen
Reading: Luke 2: 1-14 (15-20)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, my family has read this text together before we go to Christmas Eve service. When my sister and I were young, we read it in a book version with beautiful illustrations. As we grew older, we transitioned to reading it out of the bible. We split the twenty verses between the four of us, so we each get to read five verses. This is always the last thing we do before we drive off to church. Everyone wears their Christmas Eve best and is ready to go. We all squeeze onto the couch and pass the bible between us. As we have grown older, it becomes harder and harder for all four of us to fit on the couch. In fact, this Christmas Eve reading is probably the only time that all four of us in my family sit on the couch at the same time. It’s a tight squeeze. Each of my parents have a nice comfy chair they normally sit in, with my sister or I on the couch and the other on the floor in a nest of blankets. But for this night? As we prepare to welcome baby Jesus? We give up our individual spots, which may be more roomy, to squeeze together on the couch and share the wonder of the Christmas story.
In this text everyone is called to their respective hometowns. This quickly becomes problematic-the couch fills up fast. By the time Mary and Joseph arrive, the couch is full. There are no more rooms, there are no more beds. The owners of the inn could easily turn them away, but they do not. They give them their manger. They make room on their couch for everyone. Elbows might jab each other, but what is Christmas for, if not for making room for others? It might have been easier to turn Mary and Joseph away, these strangers from far away. It’s not comfortable to share. But on Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year, God calls us to make room. We are to make room on our couches and in our hearts. Room for Jesus, room for family, room for the stranger. Make room, Jesus is coming!
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