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Sunday, December 1, 2013

No Room

“While they were there,
the time came for the baby to be born,
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths
and placed him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:6-7 NIV
This morning in my mind, I am in my winter garden. Dark tree trunks jump out from the backdrop of a newly fallen snow. The evergreens are lush and the red poinsettias silently shout out bright red blasts of color. This morning I am purposely setting aside time to meditate on the birth of my Savior. Sure, I am busy during this time of year, but I have found that when I begin my day with Jesus he somehow multiplies my time. I know I still have the same amount of hours in my day but when I start my day with Jesus, he enables me to think clearly, readjust my priorities, and helps me to focus on what seems to be the most important task at hand.
Today, as I reflect on the night that Jesus was born I am filled with sadness. I think that the saddest part of the Christmas story was the fact that no matter how many inn doors Joseph knocked on in Bethlehem, the answer was the same, “No room”.
No room, are you kidding me? How could that be? Couldn’t the God of the universe have done a better job preparing for the birth of his son? God himself was putting on skin and entering our world, but to Joseph and Mary’s dismay she was about to deliver on the “Main Street” of Bethlehem!
The words “no room” keep ringing in my ears. This situation was unbelievable! Not acceptable! And irresponsible! What was God thinking? It was not fitting for a King to be born in full view of the public eye. What about poor Mary, after all she willingly bowed in humility and took on the task of obeying God, and I might add, she also did this with a smile on her face. Didn’t she deserve more? What about Joseph? Wasn’t he trying to be responsible? And now this, no room! Really God? How absolutely absurd!
And then I remember that God did what he does best, he showed up at the last minute and just in the nick of time. The last innkeeper said there is room in the stable. This was not really what Joseph was expecting from a God who owns it all, but nevertheless, he was truly grateful and so he decided to make the best of God’s “less than perfect” plan.
So there among the smelly cattle, the coarse scratchy hay, in the dark of the night, the Son of God was born. No room, only a manger to lay this little stranger in. No soft fluffy pillow, no satin edged blanket, nor was there a beautiful cradle. No doctors, no nurses, no room service! Only the simplicity of the stable, a meager manger, and one very bright star that was now lighting up the sky over the stable!
Relatives did not arrive at the stable to ooh and ahh over this new family member. Friends did not stop by with gifts. It seemed that the arrival of Jesus was unnoticed. The little town of Bethlehem had politely turned away the Christ child. The world seemed to be blind to this blessed event. The Son of God had arrived fresh from heaven and no one seemed to care.
But wait, slowly coming from the distance is a group of dirty shepherds. They began to arrive from the hillside one by one. They smelled of the outdoors and carried the odor of the sheep of their pasture. These sleepy men had been watching their flock when the heavenly host made their announcement, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12. These simple shepherds believed the angel. Their Messiah had come. Now they obediently made their way to the stable so they could bow before the King. A few lambs may have tagged along. Perhaps one or two curiously nuzzled the baby Jesus as they peered into the manger. Did they sense this was the Lamb of God?
The words “no room” no longer seemed important to Mary and Joseph. They now realized that God’s plan was so different from the ways of men. God had provided all they needed. God had provided a place to rest and worshipers to bow before their precious child, who was on loan to them from his Heavenly Father. Scripture tells us that Mary pondered all of these things in her heart. Luke 2:19
As I think about it, life is not much different today. Jesus Christ has come to a world that continues to turn him away. To so many he is a complete stranger. The hearts of mankind are hard and so full of self that there is absolutely no room for Jesus. People continue to choose to remain blind to the wonderful story of how God sent his son to an uncaring, sinful world so that we might be rescued from the fate of sin. People continue to say, “No room here.”
But praise God, there are individuals who do worship! Like the shepherds we came to Jesus in filthy rags. We were poor and we were needy. Those who worship are among the ones who have recognized who Jesus is. We have welcomed the Son for God, the Messiah, our Savior, our redeemer, and our friend. We have made room in our life for Jesus Christ and we worship him.

  1. What part of this story do you find the most amazing?
  2. Do the words “no room” make you sad?
  3. Do you feel a need to worship when you see how completely God provided for Mary and Joseph?
  4. Have you made room for Jesus in your heart?

If you have already made room for Jesus in your life then by all means worship him with all your heart this Christmas season. If you have not made room for Jesus, simply bow your head in prayer and invite Jesus to come into your heart. Tell him that you now have room for him in your life and invite him into your heart. Now for the first time in your life you will be able to worship the King as you celebrate his birth during this beautiful Christmas season.
Dear God,
When I remember that your son was born into a world that had no room for him I am overcome by sadness. But my sadness has now turned to joy as I realize that you continue to knock at the hearts of mankind asking each individual to make room for your Son in their life. This Christmas I rejoice because I made that choice and I have made room for your son, Jesus. I pray that others will do the same. The birthday of your Son is not just a celebration of your birth, but an opportunity to bow our grateful hearts in worship of our Savior. Lord with all my heart I worship your precious son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
It is in his name I pray. Amen.