Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No room

"And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was obviously pregnant by this time.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn." ~John 2:4-7 (NLT)

A couple of years ago some of the youth group members and I reenacted the Nativity story for our all Church Christmas Celebration. There were 5 people and a couple of the people had to play multiple parts, which always makes for a fun time. Train Guy was just a year old then so he got to be Baby Jesus...very cool. One of the youth, Doug, played the Inn Keeper in the story...not just one inn keeper but multiple inn keepers, for added effect. He's a man of few words anyway but we found that we never knew quite what Doug was going to do. One time he looked at Mary and Joseph and just said "No", another he just shook his head and pointed in the opposite direction. I think the last one went something like "I've got this barn out back." I haven't laughed so hard at a Christmas Pageant since then.

It's always been fascinating to me how much gets added to the Nativity story when we begin to retell it. Mary riding on a donkey into Bethlehem...find that one in the Bible. The Magi kneeling by baby Jesus' manger with the shepherds by their side...yeah probably not. And then there's the inn keeper. While I don't doubt the existence of the inn keeper, no mention is made about who this inn keeper actually was or if the inn keeper even offered Mary and Joseph a stable out back. For all we know, they could have just stumbled upon the stable and that's where they camped out for the night. The story is a little vague.

The point, though, is pretty clear. There wasn't any room for them in the inn. The place where it would be natural for an obviously pregnant woman (I love that translation!) to rest for the night had no rooms available. So Mary and Joseph wound up in a stable and the Savior of the world's first bed was a manger because there was no room for him.

I was struck the other day by this thought...there still isn't room for Jesus. We still find ways to block Jesus out of the most natural resting place for him, our hearts. I can spend much of my day doing a lot of busy work for Jesus and I can spend my nights talking to teenagers about Jesus but how much of my day is actually spent with Jesus. How much room do I make in my heart for Jesus every day? The sad truth is that there are far too many days that go by where I don't think about Jesus at all.

No room. That's the easiest line in a Christmas Pageant and really an easy line in my life. I have no room, no room for stuff, no room for people, no room for more...yet when I tell Jesus I have no room what am I missing out on? That's quite the question to ponder

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