December 22, 2014
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 guest room available for them.
The best things in life don’t often happen at the best times and under the best conditions or circumstances.
For most of the two thousand year history of the Church, the inn keepers of Bethlehem have taken it pretty hard. I think I have always kind of blamed them for Mary and Joseph’s plight. I mean, how could they turn God away like that– like they knew. And what were they supposed to do; throw someone out of their room in order to make room for Mary and Joe? There was not any room.
In other words, no room means no room, unless of course, someone is willing to improvise. Creativity, after all, is the art of improvisation. When faced with a no-room situation, creative people find a way to make room. They own the situation and make a plan. It’s rarely ideal, yet it works. And most of the time, in retrospect, it makes for a great story.
It wouldn’t be Christmas with Jesus in a neonatal intensive care unit now would it? It wouldn’t be Christmas if some anonymous inn keeper two thousand years ago hadn’t gone the extra mile and made a way when there seemed to be no way.
When you think about it, that’s exactly what God is like; always making a way when there seems to be no way; making room when there is no room. It’s the very point of Christmas isn’t it?
From this we can learn that true hospitality is not about who you have room for, but who you are willing to make room for. It’s not who you invited that tests your hospitality, but the unexpected guest. And the truth? It’s the unexpected guest who proves to be the most surprising blessing. Those are the stories that matter.
I suppose it’s part of the divine irony. . . . nearing the end of his short life, Jesus, the one who had nowhere to lay his head, said,
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? John 14:2.
It’s a good reminder to RESET our sense of hospitality. Five words to live by: There is always more room.
It brings to mind that celebrated text from Hebrews 13:2.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
And some have even hosted God.
Where would we be without that inn keeper? No room in the inn? Not a problem. That’s who we are. It’s what we do.
PEOPLE GET READY! JESUS IS COMING.
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