Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in a Dirty Shed

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Oh, is it already December 26? 

Husband and I took a few days off of work and have been making merry in Minnesota with first his family and then my family.We're still at my family's house, but things are quiet this morning. My little brother and sister are still asleep (Both of them have the night owl genes that I did not inherit. I was gasping for energy already at 8:45 last night.), my dad is reading a book with some tea at the table, Husband is doing the newspaper crossword puzzle at the table, my mom is reading the rest of the newspaper in a cushy chair in the living room, and I am using my mom's computer to read up on the connection between polycystic ovary syndrome and sugar and contemplate the possibility of starting a sugar detox for Husband and myself.

Husband and I have had a wonderful Christmas with both of our families, but something that we did with his family has firmly anchored itself in my mind and is whispering promises to stay there for a while. 

On Christmas Eve, all of Husband's family was invited to the house of his younger sister, Younger H. She lives and works at a camp right now. When we arrived at her house, apple cider and other goodies in tow, we were greeted at the front door by a sign that read "No Room in the Inn" and Husband's brother-in-law M, who took our dishes and pointed us with a smile toward the little shed to the side of the house. 

Candles flickered around the inside of the shed as Younger H ushered us inside. She invited us to take a blanket if we thought we might be cold and then take a seat in one of the chairs crammed around the focal point: a small square wooden bin resting on a milk crate. Inside the wooden bin was a towel wrapped up into a baby-shaped form. 

I must admit, I was hoping we wouldn't be out in the shed long. It was cold. I thought the bench I was sitting on might be dirty. There were seeds or bird poop on the floor of the shed.

Younger H led us through a reading of the Christmas story via Luke 2, as well as some hymns. When we were done with the reading and singing, Younger H said (and this is not a direct quote),

"I just have a few things I wanted to say... I hope that being in the shed makes you think about how there was no room in the inn for Jesus. I'm so thankful that everyone in our family here has made room in their hearts for Jesus. It's easy to celebrate on Christmas with our family and forget that not everyone has made room in their hearts for Jesus. Take time now to think of someone you know who doesn't have room in his or her heart for Jesus this Christmas."

Younger H was in tears as she said this, and it was her tears as much as her words that convicted me and made the moment stick. It's true: I usually don't spend much time on Christmas contemplating those who don't know Christ and the joy and hope this season does not hold for them because of that. But what is also true is that I do not usually feel the anguish that Younger H obviously feels for those who don't know Christ.

The day of Christmas is past, and we who know Christ have been reminded of the hope that is ours because God deigned to descend to earth as our Savior. 

Encouraged by this reminder, think of someone you know who does not know Christ. Who can you share the Good News with in the coming year?


  1. Oh wow.... what an incredibly vivid way to get her point across! Thanks for making me ponder this - I'm not usually thinking about this part of Christmas, either.

  2. Many names come to mind, so thanks for a great reminder and call to action!