While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)
Yes, we got to the birth of Jesus with still a week to read in the Christmas story. We will keep reading as the shepherds make their visit to the Christ child, but for today let's look at this miraculous birth as we enter this extremely busy week. During this week, remember that we will take time for what is important, we can keep it simple, and we can make room for Jesus.

"The time came for the baby to be born." Did it really have to happen then, while they were traveling? Couldn't it wait until they found somewhere comfortable to birth a baby. The truth is babies come when they are ready, and we always stop whatever we are doing for a baby to be born. Suddenly, that meeting isn't so important. Last year, my family completely changed our holiday plans because my fourth child, due at the beginning of November, decided to wait an extra week and make her entrance the week before Thanksgiving. We adjusted schedules and holiday plans because she was more important than parties and decorations. Every day, holiday or not, baby being born or not, we make decisions based on what is important to us. Let's look at our activities and see if our priorities are in line with God's priorities.

We may have to make some changes to straighten out our priorities. You may be looking at your budget and your calendar thinking, "How can I make time for God's priorities?" Remember, Jesus was laid in a manger. We don't have to have huge Christmas displays on our yard or the must have toy under the tree. Although, I am fond of great Christmas displays and don't mind a few nice gifts, the problem is when those things cause us so much stress that we spend the holidays fighting with our spouse, we don't spend time with our children, or we do not make room for Jesus in our celebration.

There was no room for Jesus in the inn. Is there room for Jesus in our Christmas celebration? My husband and I decided early in our marriage that, in our house, Christ would be in Christmas. My husband's family had a countdown to Christmas candle that they would burn each day. We decided to add reading the Christmas story from the Bible while the candle burned to that tradition. Now, I am sharing that tradition with all of you. If you cannot find room for Jesus in your Christmas celebration, look for ways to add Him to the traditions you already have.

Christmas doesn't have to be a time of stress and a whirlwind of meaningless activity. As we celebrate, we can focus on what is important, make things simple, and make room for Jesus. It may not even mean cutting out a lot of the traditions we are used to doing. It may just require looking at our traditions differently and acknowledging Jesus in all that we do.

Tomorrow's reading is Luke 2:8-9.

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