The Shunning Continues: An Advent Devotional – Day Seventeen

After last weeks’ re-post of The Shunning in where my daughter intentionally set up our nativity creche to simulate the “true heart” of how most of America would be found worshiping at the manger:IMG_2518, my sister-in-law made a comment reminding me of her adventures when responsible for setting up a live nativity during our local community’s annual Christmas parade. In response to the figurine placement of turning the backs upon the Christ Child, she joked that “You could also have everyone more interested in petting the cow.”

Such was the truth of how things turned out the first few years of the live nativity in which she managed to procure various farm animals to present alongside the Babe in the manger. Not surprisingly, the animals were what drew the crowd. More interest was found in petting the baby calf and laughing at the antics of a pygmy goat than in contemplating the incredible Gift of a Savior born to rescue the world.

While I failed to actually write a story about her experience with the live nativity turned petting zoo, I did manage to write about her final nativity participation in the same community. One which I found to be eerily reminiscent of the original version, with its own modern-day twist, of course. So in honor of my sister-in-law, and in hopes of convicting a few hearts along the way, I am posting the story again.

The shunning continues:

A few years ago, my sister-in-law was responsible for setting up a live nativity following a Christmas parade in our local community. She had been assured there would be a place for her dramatists to don their costumes, along with a spot for hot cocoa and cookies to be served. What she had not realized was that this place was merely an unlocked room located up a tall, narrow flight of stairs (not exactly conducive to the traipsing back and forth of long-robed participants or lugging heavy boxes of costumes or the wheelchair holding her then nine-year-old daughter). In desperation, she began going door to door at the local businesses, asking if there was a small spot where her participants could come in and drink a cup of hot cocoa while being sheltered from the cold.

Akin to the reality of the original Nativity, she received the same response as did Mary and Joseph. There was no room at the inn. Business after business closed their doors.

“There’s really no room for you here…”

“We can’t afford to get our carpets dirtied…”

Excuse after excuse turned the small band away.

There was simply no room for Baby Jesus and His followers.

No place to provide warmth from the cold night air.

Perhaps saddest of all was that my sister-in-law had been informed she needed to keep the “religious” theme away from the “Santa Claus” theme.

And where exactly was jolly, old Saint Nick? Front and center in the warmth and bustle of the shopping mall, a long line of families with children anxiously making their way toward his lap to share their Christmas list.

. . . While the Savior of the World was once again overlooked, placed in the margins, confined to the cold.

Frustrating for my sister-in-law, but fitting, really. A rude reminder of reality. A reality that places more emphasis on reindeer and mistletoe than on the humble Babe lying in a manger.

No room at the inn.

No room in our hearts.

And we wonder why the world seems so dark beneath the glow of tinsel and lights as we eagerly grasp for candy-cane placebos while neglecting the swaddled-wrapped gift of Salvation come in human form.

1465164_10201235634478523_2047155096_nLord, open our eyes and our hearts to see and receive You into our lives. This Christmas and always, may You find a place of warmth and love to dwell among those who call You their Savior.

Do you ever find yourself turning a deaf ear to the Savior’s cry for welcome? Sadly, in our rush to celebrate His birth, we can get caught up in the tinsel and lights more than in humbly receiving our King. In what ways can you show Jesus He has a place in your home this Christmas season? Take some purposeful steps toward inviting Him into your celebration as you prepare your heart to receive its King. He has come and is coming still. When He does, will He find a place to stay with you?

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