The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus was born in a barn and laid in a manger where the animals ate.
Luke notes the historical setting. The Romans had ordered a census (probably for purposes of taxation) and everyone had to return to their hometown to register. Since Joseph was a descendant of King David, that meant going to Bethlehem.
But large crowds had already arrived, filling all the normal places for travelers to stay. So when Joseph arrived with his very pregnant wife Mary, the only place available was in the area where the sheep and goats stayed. So when Jesus was born, Mary had to lay her baby in the manger with the animals.
Mary gave birth in the barn because there was no “room in the inn.”
How cold, callous and unwelcoming, we think. We, we are sure, would have made room for him in our inn.
But do we really make room for him in the inn of our lives?
Our lives are cluttered with all kinds of things: making a living, caring for our families, watching politics and sports. And constantly checking our phones and computers. Our lives and minds are as crammed full of activities as the inns of Bethlehem were packed full of people.
Our lives are so full of constant activities, ringing phones and text messages that we struggle to make time just to stop and meditate on the reality of Jesus’ birth. We are so hassled that we have little time to ponder the awesome truth that the Creator of the galaxies was born in a barn. And to reflect on the fact that according to Luke, the people to whom God sent the angels to announce Jesus’ birth were lowly shepherds. (Shepherds in that day were despised, often considered thieves.)
This Christmas, let’s make room in our hearts and lives for Jesus. Let’s take time as families and individuals to read and meditate on Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ birth. Let’s ask God to show us how we need to rearrange our lives so that we truly have room in them for Christ.
This Christmas, I want to ask myself: Does the pattern of my daily life clearly show that there is room in my inn for Jesus? Or do my frenetic activities show (no matter what my words may say) that I really have little room in my heart for him? ( Do I say by my actions, “Jesus, please just find a manger in my barn if you can.”)
My Lord Jesus, I love and adore you. I resolve to have a place in my house for you. In fact, I want you to be in charge of every inch of every room in my life. Come to my inn this Christmas and remain there for the rest of my life—indeed forever, for you promised that death, for those who embrace you, is just a transition to life forever in your presence.
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