Women’s Devotion | December 2019

The Invitation List

“There was no room for Jesus in the Inn.” Luke 2:7 

 

My husband and I had just received our first pastoral appointment at summer’s end just before the holiday season kicked off. My to-do list was a mile long already and growing with every click on Pinterest. Time flew by as we settled into our new house and community. It was now December and the Christmas Season was in full swing. Just imagine the excitement swirling in the heart of this new pastor’s wife! It was almost Christmas and I wanted to share everything we had to offer during the absolute best time of the year with those entrusted to our care.

 

Nine years later, I still remember December 14, 2010 like it was yesterday. It was the big day, our Women’s Ministry Christmas Party and I had thirteen who responded to the invitation RSVP! This was huge considering we only had 23 in the entire church!

 

During those days being busy excited me. Accomplishing things helped me feel important. I thought “there are people who need us now and things that we have to get done ASAP”. I also felt everything had to be done to perfection and with absolute excellence! For days I had been so busy cleaning, decorating, making Christmas goodies, wrapping gifts and preparing delicious foods for our party, that I had hardly slept. I made every Christmas finger food known to man and displayed them with great care; surrounding them with perfectly placed decorations. After all, it was CHRISTMAS, we were celebrating the birth of our Savior – it had to be the best!

 

Finally, my to-do list was completed. Utterly exhausted, I sat down, looking around the church parsonage feeling so accomplished, proud of what was to be offered to my guests until I looked up and saw a tiny spider web stretched across one of the globes of the dining room chandelier. I just stared at the spider web; honestly I was perplexed as to how I would muster up the strength to get it down. It was not until that moment, when I had nothing left to offer, did I speak to God about the party I was throwing…IN HIS HONOR. I said to Him “Lord, I cannot leave that spider web for everyone to see, will you please give me the strength to get it down?” To which He responded with these chilling words “Much ado about nothing, it is my party and you have not even invited me.”

 

Hearing these extremely unsettling words, I fell on my face in repentance! You and I must admit that often they are true of us – especially at Christmas time. We know that the reason for the season is to celebrate Christ’s birth and we say this is what we want to do. Yet, we get so busy with decorating (and fixing broken lights!), buying presents (and waiting in lines!), hosting parties (and getting stuck in traffic!) – and we add all these things to our normal schedules that are probably already too full! There is no room for Jesus in our hearts when we are rushing around, pushing to get more done, and trying so hard to make people happy. Just like the Innkeeper whose Inn was too full for Jesus, so also our schedules may not leave time – unhurried time – to appreciate and enjoy Jesus.

 

You see, we can plan all the parties, buy all the best gifts, decorate elaborately but without inviting Christ first, it is just “much ado about nothing!” What you do, do with excellence, but remember, excellence without HIM IS DEAD!

 

This Christmas season as you begin making your Holiday preparations, make room in the Inn FIRST and your invitation list will never be lacking.

 


 

 

 

April Schluckebier serves alongside her husband, Matthew, as pastors of Life Church in Albany, Georgia. April also serves as the Church Ministries Assistant at South Georgia Church of God State Office. The Schluckebiers have been married and in ministry for the past fifteen years. They have two daughters, Lauren McClellan and Adah Grace, and two precious grandsons, Raegan and Ross Thomas.