Empty Yourself This Christmas
By Wesley L. Duewel
We are all innkeepers, and the inns of our hearts are full of many things. Life is always full. Our family obligation, our daily occupation, our Christian service – all keep us busy. We are not to be blamed for this. God has no use for a lazy Christian. Our hearts should always be full of care and love for others. Our lives should always be full of kind and helpful deeds. This Christmas, however, there is one question that should search our hearts, as it has searched the hearts of millions over the centuries: Am I giving Jesus His rightful place in my heart? in my life?
Let us give more room to Jesus Himself. Jesus is a personal Savior, Friend, Guide, Helper, and beloved One. He emptied Himself of His glory, position, heavenly associates, comfort – all to make possible His personal relation with us as the Son of Man.
Why is it that for so few Christians Jesus is their closest personal friend? Why is it that if people have the choice of talking with a neighbor or a friend, they will usually choose that instead of time in prayer talking with Jesus? Why is it that a woman can talk for two hours with another woman and after fifteen minutes knows nothing further to talk about in prayer with Jesus? Does it not prove that she is not a close friend of Jesus? Why is it that a man will read the newspaper whether he is busy or not, but will often spend less time in actual prayer than with the newspaper? Is it not proof to God that he thinks more of the newspaper than of Christ?
If our lives are so full with work that we lack time to pray, we are too busy. If we enjoy reading books more than the Bible, it proves that we are more hungry for other things than for God. If there is one human being outside our home and not a fellow worker in our daily occupation with whom we spend more time per week in conversation than we spend time in prayer, it suggests that we love them more than Christ, that we are more anxious to please them than Jesus, that we enjoy their presence more than the presence of Jesus.
Our lives are too full. Our hearts are too full. Our time is too full. Our days are too full. We are like the innkeeper with no room for Jesus. Bethlehem’s innkeeper was probably a good man; he may have been a true servant of God. He cannot be blamed that his inn was full. Perhaps he can be blamed for not living close enough to God to recognize when his great opportunity came, to recognize when Christ was near.
Simeon and Anna recognized the babe to be the Christ. They were living close enough to God in prayer and devotion for God to whisper the secret to them.
How many spiritual opportunities have you missed because you were not spiritually prepared? How many times have you failed to sense God’s presence and will because your heart and life were too full? How many times has Christ been near but your eyes were too blind to see? How many times have angel voices had a message for you, but you were too spiritually deaf or asleep to hear? Are you and I missing God’s best this Christmas, like the Bethlehem innkeeper of old?
The Christmas call is a call to you to empty yourself. Your life is too full. Make room for Jesus. It may require complete and humble self-examination on your part. It may require a drastic cutting out of some good things so that you may give Jesus His rightful place. Empty yourself of some of your second-best reading, that you may spend more time reading His Word. Empty yourself of some of your casual but comparatively meaningless social conversation so that you may have closer personal fellowship with Jesus Himself.
More than He wants your praise, more than He wants your gifts, more than He wants your service – more than all of these put together, Jesus wants you yourself. He wants your love to be a personal love. He wants to hear your voice, He wants to walk and talk with you. He wants you to share with Him your joys and your hopes, your problems and your tears. He wants you to sit at His feet. You are careful and troubled about many things. Jesus wants your personal love, your companionship – He wants you!
Empty yourself of everything that robs Jesus of His rightful place. Empty your house, empty your plans of second-best things, empty your time, empty your heart. Empty yourself that you may give more place, more love, and more time to Jesus Himself.
The Christmas message is that Jesus emptied Himself for you. He emptied Himself of heaven’s fellowship. Cannot you empty yourself of some rather meaningless human fellowship for Him? He emptied Himself of heaven’s comfort for you. Can you not empty yourself of some of your leisure for time with Him?
Look at Bethlehem’s full inn this Christmas. Look at your own full life. Whatever He says to you, do it!
– Taken from Christmas Is for You...and the World by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright © 2010. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, Indiana.