Like many of you, I notice how packed the pews become during Christmas mass. It is wonderful having large crowds gather to celebrate the birth of Our Lord. And yet there is a sadness that many of the people who crowd the congregation will be absent in the coming weeks. We often call them the “Christmas/Easter” Catholics because those are the only days when we see them in Church. All the other Sundays of the year are filled with work, leisure, vacations, and other things besides the Table of the Lord.
There is no room for Christ in their weekends.
It reminds me of how Luke writes how Mary “wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7). We are all familiar with the Nativity story: how Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem because of the census. And when they arrived, all the inns were full so they had to go to the stable. Even at His birth, we see the foreshadowing of His passion: this is the story of the first time Christ was rejected. Imagine the glory that would have been given you if Jesus was born in your home. But the houses were too filled. And so the unborn Jesus was turned away.
There was no room for Christ in their homes.
And how so like the “Christmas/Easter” Catholics are those homeowners of Bethlehem. Jesus wants to come into their lives and be close to them in the Eucharist every Sunday. But there is no room for Him in their lives. So He is banished to the barn. He gets only the most minimal shelter and the smallest welcome. The King of Glory knocks on our door and we throw Him our scraps.
Now, you who go to Church every Sunday, do not climb up on your high horse either. While acknowledging the sadness of the “Christmas/Easter” Catholic, Jesus orders us not to be their judge. One of the reasons for this command is that we are in position to judge our brothers and sisters.
I may welcome Christ into my life every Sunday, but what about the rest of the week? I don’t only mean going to daily mass. Reflect on your life and see if there is anywhere that Christ has not been given Lordship? Is there any part of my life where Christ is not invited?
Is Jesus a part of your friendships? Do you freely share him with your buddies?
Is Jesus a part of your marriage? Do you pray with your spouse and share you soul with them?
Is Jesus a part of your finances? Do you ask Him to guide the spending of your money and ask Him to help you be generous?
Is Jesus a part of your future plans? Do you say to Him, “Jesus I have hope and designs for the future, but not my will but Yours be done?”
If there is any part of my life where I have not invited Jesus to enter, then we are like the homeowners of Bethlehem who say, “There is no room for you here, Jesus.”
But do not despair. Even though the people of Bethlehem offered to Him only their filthy, dung-filled stable, Jesus humbly accepted and made His dwelling with them. Even though the “Christmas/Easter” Catholics can only spare 2 hours a year on mass, Jesus is truly present there. Even if there are parts of your life that you have not surrendered to God, Jesus is present in the parts of your life that you have.
Our Lord is so humble that He will enter into our lives in any way that He can. And in that part of our lives, He will make us holy. If we want Jesus to be more present to us, then we must be more present to Him. We must make a present of our presence so that He can do the same.
But Christ will not force Himself on us, just as the Holy Family did not muscle their way into a nice, dry bedroom for Mary to give birth inn. In humility and respect, He will only enter where He is asked. He wants to be alive in your heart right now!
In your life, will you have room to let Christ in?
Copyright 2023, WL Grayson