12/22/12

Making Room for the King in the Manger

Christmas lyrics include more than the familiar "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night." One of my favorites is the beautiful Christmas hymn, "Thou Did'st Leave Thy Throne."

Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott (1836-1897), the niece of Charlotte Elliott who authored the hymn, "Just as I Am," wrote other poems and hymns. She wrote "Thou Did'st Leave Thy Throne" in 1864.
We don't sing this song much anymore because of its rather archaic language, but as with many of the old hymns, its message is powerful and encouraging.

The hymn reminds us that King Jesus left His home in heaven to come to earth, die on a cross and give His redeemed ones a home with Him in heaven. It begins:

"Thou did'st leave Thy throne and Thy Kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me." [emphasis mine]

But as we know from the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-7), there was no room for Jesus when He came. Though the angels proclaimed Jesus' "Royal degree" (Luke 2:11), He ended up sleeping in a lowly manger. He eventually, obeying the Father's will, faced "mocking scorn," a crown of thorns, and death on the cross (Matthew 27:27-36). Yet victorious over death and sin, the Holy One who found no room in Bethlehem will nevertheless make room for those who have embraced His salvation (Romans 1:3-4; 8:11; Ephesians 1:20-21; Colossians 3:1-4).

The repeated prayer in Elliott's song is "O come to my heart, Lord Jesus! There is room in my heart for Thee." This is the prayer of Christmas ~ the prayer that delivers, the prayer that delights the heart of God. It's a personal invitation that requires a personal response.

But beyond our day of redemption, I wonder how many of us now crowd Jesus out with other things. The question I am asking myself today is, "Do I push the Lord Jesus into the corners of my life, or do I allow Him to take center place in the throne room of my heart?" Am I too busy for Jesus?

Those who recognize that the baby in the manger is the the Sovereign King and Savior ~ those who gladly receive Him ~ will one day "rejoice at the Bridegroom's voice."

Our joy at Christmas is wrapped up in the understanding that we celebrate the day our Lord came to make room for us, and He will come again, calling us to His side.
 *http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Poetry/christmas_tide_poetry_by_emily_e.htm ...
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/t/h/o/thoudltt.htm ...
http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/HFLC1974/124