This is a guest post from Mike. He told this Christmas story in our Bible study class.
The usually calm town of Bethlehem was bustling with activity this day. Caesar Augustus had decreed a census. Joseph and Mary arrived around 5:30 p.m. after the long trip from Nazareth – about 75 miles… walking… by foot… with an expectant mother… due any day.
They were exhausted. Worn out! Mary’s back and feet ached. Joseph was physically and emotionally spent.
Back in Nazareth, their lives had been stressful already. Joseph’s work was hectic. Their home was chaotic. Their betrothed relationship was getting strained.
Lots of preparations for the next family event. Things to do. Extra bills to pay. And, on top of all that, Mary didn’t feel good. Now, ugh, one more “to do.” A quick trip to Bethlehem and back to Nazareth before the baby’s due date.
Bethlehem didn’t even notice the pregnant Mary. (Nor that giant star that was new and must mean something.)
Bethlehem was stressed out. Busy, weary, overwhelmed. The whole town was tense. People jammed together like a holiday-packed mall. Long lines. Everybody was extra cranky.
This request from “the boss” (Caesar) had frustrated everyone. The Jews didn’t like his rules. The boss was asking for too much. Everyone was thinking, “let’s just get through this.”
That Bethlehem day was ordinary, yet extraordinary. Jesus was coming. He would change history forever. He’d change lives – forever. But, no one saw the big picture.
In Bethlehem, the sun was setting. The two scariest words in this Christmas drama were soon to be spoken.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son,
and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes,
and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.
The innkeeper spoke the two scary words – “no room.” Beyond no room in his inn, there was no “room” anywhere. Not in Bethlehem. Not in Mary and Joseph’s life. Not in people’s schedules. Not in day-to-day lives. Not in the religious world. The biggest event in human history to that point in time was occurring, and everyone was missing it. Missing the Glory of God! No room in each spiritual soul.
2,000 years ago, the people of Bethlehem made “no room” for Jesus. This Christmas season, Jesus wants to arrive again.
The question: do we have room for Jesus in our lives, or do we have “no room”?
Is there room in our busy lives?
In our home, is He welcome?
In our family plans? Will we include time to worship?
In our work life? Will we show Jesus? Will we model his teaching?
In our thoughts, do we even think about Jesus?
In our spiritual lives? Do we have room for spiritual things? Enough room for prayer? Bible reading? Listening for His still, small voice?
Are we any different than Bethlehem?
Ten years ago, I was listening to Christmas music. A song by Ray Boltz named Sent By The Father came on the radio. A few lyrics grabbed me. (Correction, the Holy Spirit spoke!)
Once a baby in a manger
No room at the inn
Now a King who reigns forever
over death and sin.
The Holy Spirit challenged me. Do I have room for a baby Jesus (who now reigns as King)? Does my family? Does my country?
And, not just a little corner. Not a meager stable out back. Not a little manger. Not second best. Not leftovers. But, first place.
Now every Christmas season, those two little words, those six letters, jump out of Luke 2. Do I have “no room” for Jesus?
What room does He want in your life?