Gratitude Day 864
Luke 2:10:And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
In nearly every production or play that depicts the birth of Jesus, there is an innkeeper.
Mary and Joseph have been looking for a place to stay. Because there is a census taking place in Bethlehem, all the rooms are booked. Every little last spare bedroom is full. There is no room in any inn.
Most plays have them approaching one last potential place to stay. They beg and plead for a place to stay. If they don’t find a room soon, Mary will be having the baby in the street. Literally.
The innkeeper tells them there is no room. Sorry.
Well, you could use this stable I have in the back. It has animals but it’s dry. That’s all I have.
We’ll take it.
It’s a great storyline. Honestly, Hubby Rick has loved being the gruff and disagreeable innkeeper more than once. He’d rather be the innkeeper than King Herod. It makes for a great part of the nativity story and plays. This innkeeper, who has a change of heart and makes room for the soon-to-be-parents.
Was there really an innkeeper? We’re not sure. Luke’s gospel only tells us there was no room. We don’t know how many innkeepers Joseph and Mary approached, if any. We’re just told there was “no room.”
No room. Ever felt like there was no room for you someplace?
The lunch table at school.
When you weren’t invited or included in an outing with people you thought were your friends.
At an event, and you can’t find a parking spot.
At Christmas Eve worship.
During a very large wedding or funeral.
This past week, we went to our 4-year-old granddaughter’s school Christmas program. It was at the historic Al Ringing Theater in Baraboo. The theater was built in 1915 and no expense seemingly spared at the time. It’s been beautifully restored and maintained. Yes, there are lots of seats but I had no clue how many people would be there. Would there be room for everyone who wanted to attend?
For once, we were early. Like, really early. There before the doors opened early, which rarely happens. But I didn’t want to get there and not find a seat.
And yes, the theater was FULL. Some people found themselves with no room to sit.
The 4K kids were first. People were standing in the area behind the seats. We left shortly after Jensyn’s part of the program so others could sit and watch their child or grandchild.
We wanted to make room for others.
Whether there was a real innkeeper in Bethlehem or not, it doesn’t really matter. Here’s the innkeeper’s message: do YOU make room for the right things? Space to keep the real message of Jesus’ birth in your heart and mind? Or do we simply blow those these last days of Christmas worrying about whether we are doing enough?
Here’s my innkeeper’s message today: SLOW DOWN. Take in the things that bring you JOY this Advent and Christmas. If something doesn’t get done, well, it will be OK. The day will still come. The day will be over. But if we run through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and fail to find room for the Christ child, we will have missed something. We will miss the strongest love that is never-ending. We will miss the potential for peace in our hearts and minds. We will miss the hope for something beyond where we are today.
Remember how the innkeeper in most plays reconsiders and decides that he does have a place for the Holy Family? It’s just a stinky stable in the back corner but it’s safe and dry? God will gladly take the stinky stable spots in our lives versus no space at all. The Lord will accept any space we allow, no matter how little or big. No matter how late in the season. No matter how tiny the space is.
That’s how wonderful our God is. God takes whatever we give God. No complaints. No shaming. No questions asked. God takes whatever we give. Now this, my friends, is a God who makes space for all.
For a God that always has space, I am grateful.
Holy God – please forgive me for all the times I didn’t make space for You. When I was ashamed or not sure of my faith. For the times I felt it was inconvenient. All those times I was mad or angry or disappointed in You. May my heart be opened these days so I can find even a little back corner in my life for You. Amen.
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