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The Christmas Heart

The Christmas Heart December 22, 2021

The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings. The messenger angel, Gabriel, announced to Mary and Joseph that the child of the Most High would soon be born. The three Wise Men of the East had already boarded their camels and were on the way to site of that birth. So, I ask: why didn’t anybody phone ahead to the Bethlehem Holiday Inn and reserve a room?

“Christmas Prayer” by Ralph Spaulding Cushman

Here is a poem, “Christmas Prayer,” by Ralph Spaulding Cushman (1879-1960). This poem asks us to make room in our inner inn–in our heart–for the Messiah. (World Heart by Madi, Bali)
?

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 simple things within

       This hostelry of gold.

Yet hunger dwells 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, Holy 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.

Ted Peters is a Lutheran pastor and emeritus seminary professor. He is author of Short Prayers  and The Cosmic Self. His one volume systematic theology is now in its 3rd edition, God—The World’s Future (Fortress 2015). He has undertaken a thorough examination of the sin-and-grace dialectic in two works, Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society (Eerdmans 1994) and Sin Boldly! (Fortress 2015). Watch for his forthcoming, The Voice of Public Christian Theology (ATF 2022). See his website: TedsTimelyTake.com.

About Ted Peters
Ted Peters is a Lutheran pastor and emeritus seminary professor. He is author of Short Prayers and The Cosmic Self. His one volume systematic theology is now in its 3rd edition, God—The World’s Future (Fortress 2015). He has undertaken a thorough examination of the sin-and-grace dialectic in two works, Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society (Eerdmans 1994) and Sin Boldly! (Fortress 2015). Watch for his forthcoming, The Voice of Public Christian Theology (ATF 2022). See his website: TedsTimelyTake.com. You can read more about the author here.

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