We all have stories that are important to us because they mean something.
To others, they may appear insignificant but, to us, they are special.
We enjoy telling the stories and remembering all the small details.
The story of the Nativity, the birth of Christ, is no different.
We know this story: Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, the shepherds.
It is a story of a baby, born to an unmarried couple, under extraordinary circumstances.
The small detail says “he was born in a manger, because there was no room in the inn”.
It was perhaps the most unexpected place for a newly born Messiah.
If this was just a story about an innkeeper who missed the chance to open the doors to Christ over 2000 years ago, it would long have been forgotten.
The story is not about what an innkeeper did 2000 years ago. It is about what God did, and still does.
Christ still comes into this world. Christmas still happens. It did not just happen once, it happens all the time.
Sometimes, God knocks at our doors and we are asked if we have room for him.
Sometimes, we look out and do not really like what we see, or we do not like what it would mean to let Christ in, and we close the door and say ‘there is no place for you here’.
But, sometimes, even when we are not sure we want to open that door, we do anyway.
And that matters, because the Christmas story may be about Mary and Joseph and the baby and the manger and no room at the inn, but it also teaches us about opening ourselves up to what God is trying to do in us in this world.
And it is about telling God that, even if we do not know what it means yet, there is room for God in our lives, and we want to be part of what he is doing.
It is sometimes easy to forget that the baby born that night grew up to become an adult.
When he did, he said to those who asked him what they should do: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbour as yourself.”
In other words, open the door, open your heart, and let it all in.
When the presents have been opened, the nativity scene put back in its box, the tree taken down and put away, that message remains.
And the important part we will remember was not what was under the tree – but how well we opened our hearts and let the Christmas message in, a message which, at its heart, says God loved us so much that he became one of us, so that we may love God and one another.
Have a Blessed Christmas.