I was a challenging child at times.
Mostly, my parents nurtured my strong will, until at my mother’s dismay it confronted her like a bull in a china shop during one of our church’s Christmas pageants.
Ironically dressed like an angel, I stood ready to take my place and demanded to carry my noticeably-sized toy puppy onto the stage.
She contended and begged, but I held my ground. As the time drew closer, she knew the child she had birthed. She knew that me and that puppy were a packaged deal.
The crowed roared as I toddled my way down the aisle and onto the stage, entirely unashamed that I was bringing a beagle to the manager scene.
I recited my verses brilliantly, sang all the hymns on cue, and it all went off without a hitch, at least on my part (as for the other kids, I can’t tell you how they did).
Later that day, I remember both of my parents laughing about the dog, my dad (the pastor) seemingly amused and grateful for a wife that could shrug off her child bringing a plastic puppy to the miraculous birth of the Christ child.
We watched the video tape recording together for years after and all of us laughed and imagined that maybe puppies or animals we’d never suspected showed up that night.
He lets us come.
If there’s one valuable thing my parent’s gave me that day, it’s that you can come with whatever you’re holding.
He wasn’t born in a high-up tower or a closed-off room. It didn’t take a password, visitor’s pass or keycard to get in the door. He was born in a stable, with a star that led right up to the door. A place where strangers and friends, lowly shepherds and wealthy kings could kneel before Him; where dusty animals could freely come and rest their head.
He lets us come.
But let’s not forget that we only get to because He came first, and He still does. Maybe you’re thinking that there’s no manger for you to travel to and it’s just not as easy as it was then. Because it’s hard when you can’t see Him and there’s no clear star pointing you the right way…know that He still comes. He comes in the silent night and in the joy to the world, and He is everywhere if you’re willing to just look up. Just ask Him to show you the light. If you’re willing to follow when you see it, even if you’re not sure exactly where it’s going to lead, you will find Him.
He lets us come.
And it’s in our coming that we find that there is no where else worth being. Not only at Christmas, but every other day. Because there’s nowhere else that invites us in so openly, that gives us all an equal place. Nowhere else that makes a space for us to come and see a miracle and doesn’t ask us to hashtag it or pay for VIP seating. It’s a place where little girls can bring their puppies, mother’s can let the pressure to be perfect go, and men carrying the weight of the world can unburden their tired shoulders. It’s where joy to the world isn’t just a song on the radio and silent nights don’t make us feel so alone.
It’s a place where you can bring whatever you’re holding, even if no one else seems to be carrying that and even if it’s something the storybooks don’t show. Though the world made little room for Him, He made sure to make some for us. There is room where He is, room for you, room for me, room for the whole world He came to love.