NO ROOM IN THE INN
Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
This is one of the striking elements of Luke’s account of the birth of Christ, there was no room in the inn. This instantly paints a picture in our minds of an insensitive, greedy business man who is just trying to make a buck on other people’s misery. No time for a pregnant teen ager, there is more important matters at hand. We tend to see ourselves differently, surely I would have made room for Mary, Joseph, and their son. But if the truth were known, would I? Every time I think of this story I am reminded of my reluctance to embrace the outpouring of 1994. God was moving and I was clueless. That’s how it was for the innkeeper. Christ was visiting his very home and he was unaware. How about you? Maybe The Lord is visiting us again, are we aware of His nearness? Martin Luther had an interesting twist or litmus test with this story, check it out.
“All of us should use the gospel to evaluate ourselves. How near or far are we from Christ? How are we doing in faith and love? Many become inflamed with dreamy devotion when they hear about how impoverished Christ was when he was born. They grow furious at the people of Bethlehem and criticize their blindness and ingratitude. They think that if they had been there, they would have served the Lord and his mother. They wouldn’t have allowed them to be so miserable. But these people don’t even notice their own neighbors who are nearby and need their help. They ignore them and leave them as they are. Who on earth doesn’t have miserable, sick, blundering, or sinful people around them? Why don’t they show their love to these people? Why don’t they do for their neighbors what Christ did for them?”
Maybe The Lord has shown up again, this time in the homeless man who visits your church, or the pregnant teen ager next door. Or maybe He is the coworker struggling in his marriage or the neighbor overwhelmed with troubled children. Each one of us are strategically placed in our world to serve as salt and light. Often, our own problems or even our own important work tends to blind us to the truly important. As we take a break from our normal routines during our Christmas celebration maybe we can reflect on our current spiritual condition. Maybe we, like the innkeeper in Bethlehem, have been blinded by our own busyness. Maybe God has come near and we are unaware. Maybe He has come near, moved into our own world. If we ask, He always answers. Go ahead, ask Him how He intends to reveal Himself and use you for His glory in the coming year. Maybe we can shut down our busyness and join the shepherds, wise men, and other creatures worshipping at the manger. Merry Christmas.