2nd Sunday of Advent

“She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” ~ Luke 2:7

Yesterday I talked about making room in our hearts for the love of God to grow. I focused on making time. But we also need to make room for contradictions, for shortcomings. Especially with those closest to us. Especially with ourselves.

Country singer Luke Bryan was on TV the other night, and something he said really hit home with me. He talked about how when his family gets together for the holidays, it’s “Christmas mayhem. We get all the fighting done the first five minutes, to clear all the air.”

What Luke said was funny, and a big part of that is because it’s true. What is it about family that makes it so easy to see their shortcomings, yet so hard to extend them the same grace we would anybody else?

I think it comes down to expectations.

Before Jesus was born, many people waited anxiously on a Messiah to save them. They assumed this Messiah would be a military or political hero. When Jesus was born they didn’t have room for him in their homes so he was born in a manger. When he was grown and told them about the kingdom of God, they didn’t have room in their hearts so they crucified them.

But love makes room. Jesus had a love so big that he forgave them, even as he hung on the cross. He forgives us despite all our sins, failures, and shortcomings.

This Christmas, model the love of Christ in your life. Make room in your heart for those around you, even when they don’t live up to your expectations. And as hard as it is, go easy on yourself, too. Try to see others – and yourself – as one of God’s children. And act accordingly.