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Luke 2:7: And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in blankets and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

This seems to be the scripture that has had an impact on me this Christmas season. I have heard it in our church services, on the car radio, and on the Web.

One of my favorite stories has been reported in various publications through the years. It tells of a group of Sunday School students who were asked to put on the annual Christmas play. The students were given the responsibility of selecting the characters who would have speaking parts. They chose Wally for the inn-keeper. He was a large boy, who was friendly, kind, and loved by the other students. He was also mentally challenged. His part was only two sentences, “Go away. There is no room.” This was to be repeated twice.

Wally got along fine at rehearsals, and was so impressed with the colorful costumes and the large audience, he really was living his part. When Mary and Joseph first appeared, Wally said his lines correctly, but when they turned to leave, Wally had tears running down his cheeks, as he called out, “Come back, Mary, come back Joseph, you can have my room.”

This story always makes me think about my life. Am I crowding Christ out because of other pursuits? Is my life becoming overstuffed with material things that require upkeep, overstuffed with habits that deplete energy, overstuffed with food that doesn’t contribute to fitness? Do I crowd him out by resentment and bitterness?

These are like barnacles that cover a ship and make it unsafe for travel on the sea. Our outlook on life can be changed by these negative habits. We pray that God will help us keep the miracle of Christmas in our lives throughout the year.

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Day Forty-Eight, December 22, 2008.

29 days, 15 hours and 20 minutes left until inauguration day.

For insight and clarity for President-Elect Obama’s appointee to the position of Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Geithner.

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” --Matthew 25:23.

 Lord, You reign in perfect faithfulness over us--as individuals and as a nation. You have done great and mighty things in this country, and I praise and thank You for Your goodness to us, even in the midst of economic crisis and challenge.

God, we pray that President-Elect Barack Obama’s choice for the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, will have a heart like the good stewards celebrated in Matthew 25. Give him great wisdom, integrity and understanding about how to deal properly with our country’s economic concerns. Give him insight beyond his own experience so our nation will be able to meet the needs of its citizens. We give You praise and honor for hearing and responding. In the name of Christ our Lord, amen.

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