I had to grab a few last minute items for Christmas festivities, and knew no better place to go than the local Walmart. This was apparently also the conclusion of 90% of the rest of the population in the town we reside.
I wove in and out of aisles, maneuvering my way through an obstacle course of shopping carts overflowing with last-minute gifts. I nodded and smiled politely while waiting out the oblivious actions of frantic shoppers.
The place was a madhouse, and I had made the conscious decision to face it head-on. From attempting to secure a parking place, to squeezing my way through the Christmas candy aisle, until finally deciding I would be forced to brave self check-out, it was obvious there just wasn’t enough of Walmart to go around. There wasn’t enough parking, groceries (they were completely sold-out of hash browns), or check-out lanes open. There was no room in that place!
This led me to think of the fullness, the max capacity of Holiday celebrations.
Luke 2:6-7 ESV
6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
When I first read these verses this morning my eyes were drawn to the words “no place for them in the inn.” Can you imagine? How would you feel if your wife was nine months pregnant and they turned y’all away? Or women, can you picture that one? I couldn’t even sit on the floor for more than five minutes straight without cramping up when I was that far along.
What about the innkeeper? I wonder how he felt when he realized he had turned away the Savior of all mankind to be born in a barn, amongst an audience of farm animals, with hay as a bed. Even though it was ordained by God that His precious Son would be made man, born into lowly beginnings rather than the fanfare deserving of a King; I still would imagine the hotel management felt immense regret for turning out the Son of God.
Well, what if that same innkeeper had known at the time that Joseph’s very pregnant Missus waiting outside was carrying the Messiah in her womb? Wouldn’t his knowledge of the Divine birth and subsequent refusal of service have been so much worse?
How is it then when we decide at Christmas time that there is no room for Him in the inn. Amidst the crowds of family gatherings, the Christmas breakfasts and ham laden lunches that follow we are full up. With all the trips to Grandma’s and presents to open we are at capacity. With another Christmas classic coming on ABC Family to watch while we consume mass quantities of egg nog we are to the limit in our households.
There is no room for Him in the inn. Jesus can’t fit in the tight Holiday schedule we’ve planned out this year.
Perhaps we’ll try extra hard to fit our Savior into His own Birthday celebration at our home by reading The Christmas Story, maybe even the scriptures detailing His birth from our dusty family Bible. We’ll hurriedly gather the kids to rush through the reading before we give them a Benadryl toddy and scare them to bed with threats of Santa not coming.
A wise man once warned me to not allow the story of Jesus’s birth to become too familiar. He meant that it shouldn’t be just some story you equate with this season, a reading of words that all blur together as your mind is distracted by twinkling lights and thoughts of stocking stuffers. The story of His birth, the reading of The Christmas Story shouldn’t be just a tradition you share.
It should be a Living Word. It should be an exciting, edge of the seat story that leaves you in awe of the gift you were given before you were even born.
It should be a reminder of the amazing sacrifice God gave to you, taking your shame and placing it on the blameless, making His Son a baby born in the lowliest of circumstances on planet earth to one day die just for you.
I would encourage you this year to make sure you’re not turning Him away, to make sure you’re not telling Him there is no room in the inn.
I would encourage you to take the time apart from all the busy last minute shopping, apart from the family gatherings, pretty packages, and festive foods. While all these things are fine, and truly a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of our Lord, I would ask you to take time apart just for Him.
Fall down on your knees and invite Him in.
While prostrate before Him, open the doors of your heart and allow Him entry for this Christmas season.
O come, O come, Emmanuel.
Allow Him to reside all the year long.
That is all 🙂