ASK AUGUSTINE

Christmas season priorities

What do you think is the greatest problem Christians face at Christmastime?

Some weeks ago I might have answered this question differently, but recently I sent an email to my son, who is employed by the Lee County schools in Florida, about some New York Yankee Christmas ornaments I had. Now I assure you, these ornaments were quite secular in essence; but because I used the word “Christmas” in the email, the school’s filter blocked the email.

Therefore, now I would say greatest problem we face as Christians at Christmas is, NO ROOM FOR JESUS in many of our schools. We can teach humanism, secularism, atheism and evolutionism, but there is no room for Christ in our school’s curriculum.

There was no room for Him at His birth. Someone put it very well when he said that Jesus was born in another man’s stable, laid in another man’s manger, preached from another man’s boat, road another man’s colt, ate the final supper in another man’s room, died on another man’s cross for other men’s sin, and He was laid in another man’s tomb. Tragically, though centuries have come and gone, there is still no room for Him in many of our schools.

So I decided to test the Ft. Myers schools filter by referring to Quentzalcoatl in another email and it went through without a problem. Quentzalcoatl is the great god of the Aztecs, a god of human sacrifice to whom hundreds of thousands of human beings, with their hands tied behind them, were led up the steps of those great pyramids in Central America. There at the top of those pyramids, they were bent backwards over the alter, and cut from one end to the other. Then their bodies were thrown off the pyramids. The Lee County schools has room for this Aztec god Quentzalcoatl, but they ruled that there is no room Jesus; Jesus, whose teachings and followers have banished human sacrifices from every corner of the world.

That innkeeper 2,000 years ago had no room for Jesus because of ignorance. He just didn’t know. There are many schools in our country today who, like that innkeeper, will have no room for Jesus this Christmas season because of ignorance. They just don’t know. The innkeeper didn’t know who Jesus was or why He had come; and that is so true of many people and many of our schools today.

You see all of us want to be kings; we want to be king of our own domain. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. I will be the sovereign ruler over my own life. After all it’s my body, isn’t it? I can do with it what I want, can’t I? I am king of my life, and I will broach no interference, especially in my school, from any usurper Christ who wants to take His place upon the throne of my life or in my school. There are things I want to do that He doesn’t approve of.”

Yet, this Jesus for whom some have no room, went to prepare a place for us in paradise. What kind of a place? A stable? No, a mansion in heaven. That is the indescribable, incredible grace and condescension of God, that though we rejected Him, He is willing to accept us by His pure grace.

I think, the following poem puts it best:

“Let not our hearts be busy inns, that have no room for Thee,

But cradles for the living Christ, and His Nativity.

Still driven by a thousand cares, the pilgrims come and go,

The hurried caravans press on, the inns are crowded so.

Here are the rich and busy ones, with things that must be sold,

No room for helpless hands within, the hostelry of gold.

Yet hunger dwell within these walls, these shining walls and bright,

And blindness groping here and there, without a ray of light.

Oh, lest we starve, and lest we die, in our stupidity,

Come, Thou Child, within and share, our hospitality.

Let not our hearts be busy inns, that have no room for Thee,

But cradles for the living Christ, and His Nativity.”

Have you room for Jesus?