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No Room

mary
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I make room for things that are important to me. I eat two or three meals every day and sleep several hours each night even though my “to do” list is not much shorter today than it was yesterday. I will choose to play with a grandchild over cleaning the house any day of the week. I manage to find a place for that great piece of furniture I don’t really need – but really like. After all, it was on sale. I like watches. Don’t ask me why because I simply don’t know. I only need one watch, but I own several inexpensive ones. I will have lunch with a friend instead of running errands. And there is always room for chocolate! Silly examples – right? I wonder. I wonder what the innkeeper thought as he turned away the young man and his very pregnant wife that holy night so long ago. He had no room – it was that simple. Do we?

The Christmas season is almost here! Our calendars are already full, our bank accounts are closing in on empty and our hearts and lives are crowded with things we deem important, but have we made room for Jesus?

I simply cannot imagine a world without the presence of God and yet I often live my life as if He does not exist. A crisis hits, and I try to handle it on my own. I don’t understand the trials in my life while those who could care less about God seem to prosper. Instead of reaching out to Him, I withdraw into the darkness. Financial stress fuels worry. Instead of turning to God, I rely on what I can see and understand. I settle.

When I do cry out to God, He lovingly fills each dark corner with Light. His love flows over the pain like soothing balm and once again, I experience the manger. Once again, Jesus Christ steps into the smelly, unlikely and very ordinary existence that is mine to change everything – absolutely everything!

Jesus could have come to us in many ways. The simplicity of His birth is extraordinary and sometimes hard to grasp. Jesus could have been born in a mansion. He was, after all, a King. Instead, He came to a dirty smelly manger and His birth was announced by common shepherds instead of Kings — the greatest of all miracles in the midst of total simplicity. Today, Jesus still wants to meet us in the midst of our simple daily lives. It seems too easy and too good to be true, doesn’t it?

It was Christmas Eve, and the family was preparing to attend the special service of their local church. Everyone was going except Dad, who was an honest man, a man who could not seem to wrap his logical mind around the story of God come to earth as a baby in a manger. He didn’t want to be a hypocrite, pretending to worship a Savior he wasn’t sure even existed, so he stayed home, built a fire to dispel the bitter cold of that winter night and began to read the paper, waiting for his family’s return. Hearing a knock at the window, he turned to see a tiny bird trying to reach the warmth of the fire. The man opened the window, but the bird refused to come in.  Grabbing his coat, the man went out to the barn and opened the barn doors wide – but still, the bird refused to come in. The man thought, “If only I could be a bird, for just one minute, I could lead the bird to safety.” At that moment, he heard the church bells ring and finally understood why Jesus came to earth as a man — to become one of us so He could lead us to eternal safety.

The very heart of Christmas is Emanuel, God with us – with me – and withyou. Christmas is not a date on a calendar. Christmas is a way of life that celebrates the presence of God in the simple, ordinary happenings of daily life: where we go and what we do — the smile we give the harried stranger or the patience we choose in the crowd of impatient shoppers — the love that prompts the secret gift or the heart that constantly celebrates His birth through every sparkling light, every beautifully wrapped gift, each special meal, every card, phone call and visit. God is with us – if we choose to make room for Him.

Let’s Pray
Father, today I celebrate the reality of Your presence in my life. Thank You for sending Your Son to earth as a tiny baby in a manger. I celebrate the birth of Jesus and the gift of life that He brings. I choose to receive Your gift of love and forgiveness for my sins. I now surrender everything I am or ever hope to be to You. Please take control of my life and direct my paths. I promise to follow.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Read John 3:16 once a day and look for ways to share God’s love with the people in your life.
Give a gift to someone you don’t know.
Invite a needy family into your home for a special “Friends” dinner.
Offer to take an elderly neighbor shopping.
Put your faith into action by making a step-by-step plan to keep Jesus at the heart of your Christmas season.

More from the Girlfriends
I pray that your life is filled with God’s peace and joy this holiday season. I know it has been a difficult year for many of you. Remember – God is with you.

Already feeling the stress of the approaching holidays? Get Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap, for practical steps to dealing with and managing stress and check out her Christmas MP3 downloads, The Secret of a Merry Christmas and Giving the Perfect Gift.

Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook – or through email. Need help learning how to study the Bible? Join women across the world in Mary’s weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey.

24 Responses

  1. Lisa says:

    Thank You Mary. God Bless You and Your Family! MERRY CHRISTMAS! :)

  2. Donna says:

    Mary,

    As always you make me smile, cry and stop right in my tracks. Thank you for sharing your heart and your faith. I really needed to read this today. I often go through days so quickly caring for 5 children, a husband, a giant dog and a home that I skip over what really matters. The heart of my home – Jesus.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    With love and blessings from my home to yours,
    Donna

    • mary mary says:

      Donna, you are so sweet. You are my hero, girlfriend, as the mom of 5 kids. Not to mention the husband and dog…you go, girl. It is so easy to just try to stay afloat, isn’t it?

  3. Kaaren says:

    Mary,
    This post touched a deep place in my heart. There are times I don’t have room for Jesus. Just like the innkeeper. Hindsight is always 20/20. I can’t imagine the innkeeper turning away the parents of God’s precious son. But I do it! Not everyday like you said, but I do it. I don’t want to squeeze Jesus out of my life anymore. I want to include Him in everything. But I ask myself, how would my life be different if I made room for Jesus in “everything”? Would I do the same things? Talk the same way? Maybe…depending who I am associating with…

    Thank you opening my eyes and my heart to where I need to make “room” for Jesus.

  4. Krisie says:

    Thank you for the reminder to have Jesus in every part of our lives…great devotion!!

  5. Eve Lloyd says:

    GIG Impact Team member
    I love today’s devotional.
    How many times in my own life have i felt that there was no room for me. God makes room. Room in His love, in His world, in His salvation – for me!
    And for you.
    This Christmas, I hope every day to make room for Him. In my celebrations, in the decorations, in my actions, words and prayers.
    Welcome Jesus while we stand. heart to heart and hand in hand. (The Grinch (ad-libed lol)

  6. Debbie says:

    Thankyou for this amazing word today !
    I love it will read this more than once

  7. Judy Layton says:

    Dear Mary,
    I’ve been encouraged so many times by your devotions. I read this earlier today and now again reading the last 4 devos to choose which one I like best. All of them touched me in special ways. Yours today, however, struck a cord..it has been a difficult year and this year more than ever celebrating Jesus’ arrival on earth has deeper meaning than ever before and also more than ever I want others to know that God is real and with us every moment.
    God bless you.
    Much love, Judy

    I am also going to share this post on my blog, facebook page and by email so that others can be encouraged today.

    • mary mary says:

      Judy, thank you for your sweet and encouraging words. I know it has been a hard year for so many girlfriends. But we are in this together and Jesus is in the middle of it all. Yea! Go God!

  8. silvana says:

    It seems so simple!! But sometimes we have to fight against the craziness of our daily lives to find room for Jesus, it´s a battle we have to win every singe day in order to have a successful life in God!!!
    God Bless you for sending us this alert!!!!

    • mary mary says:

      I know what you mean about it being so simple and yet so complex to keep Christ as the “main thing” in life every stinkin’ day!!!!! Thanks for your encouragement, girlfriend.

  9. Toni says:

    I love that the step of faith is so simple… so simple that many almost miss it! How often have we heard someone say “Is that it? Is that all you have to do to be saved…?”

    On Sunday, a young girl asked to be prayed with for salvation. Another lady, leaving the meeting later, said those very words…

    God has done all the hard work! All we have to do is ask, believe and receive! What a wonderful God we serve!!! :D

    Bless you and thank you for your message. <

  10. Anita says:

    Thank you for your devotion Mary.

    The other day I was hoping for a lovely evening at a comedy event. Well what can I say, I’m still finding it hard to put into words, what I experienced in a theatre sized room. I saw mocking of our our precious Jesus as He died on the Cross.

    I still feel so sick. I wanted to go straight away but I prayed and felt God calling me to pray around the room,to invite Him into the room and walk around the rows.I was weeping…

    I have experienced being bullied for being a Christian, I have seen on facebook that when I enter my blog posts, immediately you will get posts about how intelligent women don’t need religion / faith…

    As someone who prays for Christians who are being persecuted around the world, I think upon the countries such as ours, and feel the longing to know God more and more, to crave his presence.

    I am becoming more and more aware of how the world says there is no room…

    The challenge to be Jesus to others is needed more than ever.

    Let’s not lose the focus of Christmas, and keep looking to the love and direction of our Heavenly Father.

    Thank you Mary – I wish you and your family every blessing x

  11. Amanda says:

    Mary, thank you for being humble and available to Jesus. As I read this, it’s the beginning of September, Fall is on its way, a new school year has begun… and it is not even close to December 25th yet! And yet I am so grateful to have been brought to this post now. Truthfully I don’t need a holiday to wind me up until I’m frayed, and this word was timely and gratefully received.

  12. veena says:

    Really inspiring and worth reading.Tears rolled out of my very eyes after reading this article

  13. Ethel says:

    Mary,
    Thank you for this devotion. In many ways you shared things that many of us ponder “I don’t understand the trials in my life while those who could care less about God seem to prosper.” It is good to know that we are not am island in this thinking. For me, it is best to remember who is the greater influence in my life (Eph 5:20) #JesusChrist. I’m under His influence!
    Can’t live without Him! :-)
    Ethel
    Ps. My name is much older than I.

  14. Mary Chukwu says:

    Mary,
    God is a master planner. Merry Christmas
    Mary

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