KGIFFORD MUG

Kristine Gifford

Thirty years ago I listened to a Christmas devotional that has stayed with me. One of those times you remember because it made such an impact on you. The speaker was Thomas S. Monson, who would become the sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here is part of what he said:

“The formula for finding Jesus has always been and ever will be the same — the earnest and sincere prayer of a humble and pure heart. The prophet Jeremiah counseled, ‘Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.’ (Jer. 29:13.)

Before we can successfully undertake a personal search for Jesus, we must first prepare time for him in our lives and room for him in our hearts. In these busy days there are many who have time for golf, time for shopping, time for work, time for play — but no time for Christ.

Lovely homes dot the land and provide rooms for eating, rooms for sleeping, playrooms, sewing rooms, television rooms, but no room for Christ.

Do we get a pang of conscience as we recall his own words: ‘The foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.’ (Matt. 8:20.) Or do we flush with embarrassment when we remember, ‘And she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.’ (Luke 2:7.) No room. No room. No room. Ever has it been.”

I felt the truthfulness of his words and realized I was often guilty of not making room in my life for the Savior and oftentimes only thinking about Him when I was troubled or up against a crisis. President Monson’s words provided the impetus for me to be more diligent and deliberate about making time for Christ in my daily life. Elder Neal A Maxwell put it succinctly when he said, “Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus.”

Now that it’s December and Christmas is fast approaching, if you are like me, you are busy buying and wrapping gifts, baking cookies, attending holiday events, and planning for company and holiday feasts. Time is at a premium and we use every spare moment to cram in one more thing from our too-long to-do lists. During all this hurrying to prepare for Christmas, perhaps we could slow down for a moment and think about whose birthday we are celebrating, and as President Monson said, “. . . prepare time for him in our lives and room for him in our hearts.” This implies a deliberate decision to set aside a few moments each day to spend with our Savior in prayer and in the scriptures, thinking and reflecting on what He has done for us and how we can best serve and worship Him during this Christmas season.

It’s easy to get so distracted by the party aspect of Christmas, which we all love and enjoy, that we forget why we are spending all this time and money. We get caught up in the adrenaline rush of being busy and pride ourselves on all we have gotten done, but perhaps we’ve forgotten the most important part of it all. We may be more like Martha than Mary. Do you remember the story of the two sisters? Jesus visited their home and Martha was busy serving and preparing food while Mary was sitting at the feet of the Savior listening to Him. Martha complained that Mary wasn’t helping her.

“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

Perhaps Christ might say that to me at Christmas time — I’m careful and troubled about many things, but not necessarily the best things. This December, let’s commit to spending a few moments each day being the innkeeper who says to the Christ, “Please, come in! I have room!”

Kristine Gifford is the Communications Director for the Glendive Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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