Luke 2:6-7 – 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. (NIV)
The four goats were at it again, driving the fifth goat, Rosie, away from the feed and not allowing her into the warmth of the barn. Goats have a pecking order, and unfortunately for Rosie, she was bottom gal on the list, which meant that she had to rush in and out from one pile of hay to another just to grab a mouthful before being driven away. How she shivered as she waited to be allowed the last place in the stable on frigid winter nights, while the other goats nestled down in the warmest spots.
Rosie's dilemma reminds me of how I expect Mary and Joseph may have felt as they discovered that the inn was already full. No room, no room at the inn for you, your wife, the expected Child — God's greatest gift of love to mankind. No room: no room for You.
What harsh, cold words these must have been. How lonely Mary and Joseph must have felt. How they must have been seeking God's face to understand what they were to do. He had given them a gift to share with the world, but where did they fit in? How did it all fit together? Where were they to go?
And then, when all else had been tried, they found a stable, a place of rest, a place to be alone to birth the blessing of God for all mankind, for there was no room at the inn. But God did not need a room at the inn. After all, the earth and everything in it were His to give. It was not that He could not have supplied better accommodations for the birth of His Son and the comfort of His earthly parents. The stable was of God's choosing, that the hearts of those who have felt left out, who have experienced no room at the inn of life, would know that there was One Who understood their heartache, their pain and loneliness, the pain and loneliness of rejection, of no room at the inn.
That stable in all its earthy humility became the first true church of Christ as the doors were open to both poor and rich alike: to the shepherds, the outcasts of their day, as well as to the wise men, wealthy, well-educated foreigners from afar — a place with room at the inn.
This week, as we go about our daily activities or enter our sanctuaries of worship, what will others find when they come a-knocking: room at the inn of our hearts where the living Lord abides, or the barred door of selfishness with no room for others?
Prayer: Father God, how lonely it is when there is no room at the inn. Cleanse the hearts of Your people of all but love, that never again will anyone experience the rejection of those whose hearts are to be the reflection of Your love. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Christians Awake" (Lyrics)