Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Go Tell It On The Mountain"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 2:7b – There was no room for them in the inn. (KJV)
Luke 2:7b – There was no space for them in the living-quarters. (CJB)
Luke 2:7b – There was no place for them in the guestroom. (CEB)
In former years, when my young family went visiting, I sometimes had to find a place for our baby. I'd use whatever worked: laundry basket, dresser drawer, cardboard box — wherever my infant would be safe, comfortable, and nearby. I needed only a tiny space.
That reminds me of the manger for baby Jesus. It was enough room, too. With a little padding, it would have kept the infant safe, comfortable, and nearby. Jesus' manger was not likely located in a distant outdoor stable facility, as legend portrays. Stone-hewn mangers were a common feature in ancient village homes. Villagers brought their animals into their houses at nighttime to keep them safe.
Research also reveals that guestrooms were common in peasant homes, often doubling for storage. If Mary and Joseph had been accommodated in the guest quarters, the area could very well have lacked the space to facilitate the birth.
Luke 2:7b – There was no place for them in the guest quarters. (ISV) (a better translation than "inn")
The young family could have been offered the main living area, next to the animals on a slightly lower level, where Mary could lay her baby safely in their manger beside her. Both historically and biblically, we can authentically suggest that Jesus came into this world the ordinary way for peasants to be born: in a village home through the caring hands of experienced women. Peasant relatives in Bethlehem surely accommodated their fellow Israelite visitors, Joseph and Mary, in accordance with ancient hospitality.
Still today, the ones who make room for Jesus as their Lord are the humble folk — those who acknowledge their poverty: their broken, sinful condition, their spiritual neediness.
Matthew 5:3 – Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (NIV)
This promise by Jesus is for all who humbly make room for Him in their lives. Theirs are the privileges, the honour, and the favour of God's kingdom family. Theirs is the glorious peace of God — just as the angels promised the shepherds:
Luke 2:14 – Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. (NIV)
Are you among those "on earth" who know this divine peace? Or is the space in your heart so closed off that you've made no room for Jesus? Is it stuffed with self-righteousness and pride? If God's Spirit has been revealing this spiritual condition to you, then the following words may be your own humble prayer:
Prayer: Dear Saviour, I realize that I lack Your peace because I've been striving to fill my life with fruitless things. I've been clinging to self-righteousness and pride. Help me to surrender it all and become like those ancient villagers who opened wide their home for Jesus. O Lord, I long for Your blessed favour and peace to fully rest in my heart. Amen.
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Thanks Diane, blessings to you!
Thanks for the good reminder, Diane.
Thanks, Diane for this thoughtful look at Jesus’ birth.
Thank you, Diane.
What a wonderful Christmas inspiration!
Thank you, Diane for doing this amazing research and painting the true picture of nativity today. Blessings on your writing.
Thanks for another very mindful devotional. A good reminder to us of the importance of being humble and ever thankful to our Lord.
Dear Diane Eaton,
I trust the words of the NIV Translation at Luke 2:7 “… 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 (Luke 2:7).”
A Blessed Christmas to you and yours.
Apart from the fact that you are surely correct, I am going to stick to the traditions of the past. As long as we accept that Jesus came for the salvation of all I don’t think it makes a lot of difference how we mentally visualize it. Thank you for writing.
We, wish you and yours a Blessed Christmas.
Thank you, Diane! May the world open up their hearts to make room for the true gift of the season. Wishing you and yours a blessed family time.