Rev. Chris Holliday serves as the associate minister at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection West.
My youngest daughter, Victoria, is in the 7th grade. One of her favorite teachers is her science teacher – a wonderful lady who loves animals and whose classroom is the part-time home of a parakeet named Dr. Pepper, an aquarium full of fish, a dog named Bandit, and a bunny named Buddy.
About a week ago, my wife Lisa left me a voicemail saying that the science teacher had asked Victoria to take Buddy the bunny home over the Christmas break. I promptly called Lisa back and said, “Are you kidding? We already have Coco the hamster, Lola the chiweeny dog, and Buddy the cocker spaniel, not to mention the three children and me. We don’t have room. Where on earth will we keep it? The dogs will probably chase it and eat it, anyway!” (Not one of my more compassionate or pastoral moments.)
Lisa took a deep breath, and with a fair amount of patience said, “I know, but it would be great if Victoria had something to care for over the holidays. The teacher asked her specifically, and you know how much your little girl loves animals. Just think about it.”
As I sit in my basement on this Christmas Eve, I must tell you that I am not alone. You guessed it. Buddy the bunny is keeping me company. He’s quite cute and playful and has a great hop. The dogs have certainly sniffed Buddy enough, and they all seem to be tolerating each other – maybe even enjoying one other.
Victoria is thrilled and loves to play with Buddy. And the rest of the human family is enjoying having him here, too. (Animal update: Lola just came downstairs and gave Buddy a sniff and a playful whine.) Okay, I admit it. I’m happy Buddy is staying at the Hollidays for the holidays this Christmas.
So, there WAS room for Buddy, not just in our house, but in our hearts.
As I read today’s scripture from Luke 2:1-7, I got stuck on the “because there was no room for them in the inn” part. Sometimes we get so caught up in the business of our own lives that we forget or choose not to make room for Jesus. Maybe even this Advent season, some of us feel we haven’t paused enough to remember, reflect upon, and celebrate the real reason for the season.
The good news is that it’s not too late. Today, tonight, tomorrow and into the new year, we can make Jesus a priority. We can choose to spend time in prayer and time loving and caring for one another, just the way Jesus taught us. We can remember the tremendous sacrifice God made and the amazing gift Jesus was and is. We can serve others by getting involved in FaithWork, Martin Luther King serve weekend, or by taking a mission trip. We can attend and participate in worship services and have private and family devotional times. We can strive to live as Jesus did – loving with compassion and grace, reaching out to those in need, and joining together with others to help change the world.
May we all make room for Jesus in our lives today and allow the light of his hope and peace to shine through us this Christmas and throughout the New Year. “Hoppy” holidays, everyone!