There she is, the one waddling beside her husband. It looks like she is about to drop her load any minute now. It’s a shame she had to come along with Joseph to register in the census. Her feet are swollen. Her back hurts. She has to stop every few miles to pee.
Mary and Joseph’s trip was not easy. The straightest distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem was 70 miles of grueling terrain. This route would be beyond challenging for a woman in the last trimester of pregnancy. Additionally, the area was known for hostile Samaritans. This route would endanger their safety.
Pregnancy at its best can be challenging.
Can you imagine being a teenage newlywed about to have her first baby without the nurturing assistance of her mother and other women within her circle of influence?
How would it make you feel to travel approximately 90 miles alternating between walking and riding on a donkey, days prior to delivery?
I don’t know about you, but I would be ready to lay my head in the first available bed and give my weary body some rest. Hey Joseph, do you see any hotel signs up ahead? Joseph, my back hurts really badly. I think I’ve been on my feet way too long. I’m having cramps.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
I wonder if Mary knew that she was in labor.
Did Joseph tell the innkeeper that his wife was about to, no wait, having a baby?
Would the inn keeper have suddenly found a vacancy had he known? Would he and his wife have offered their bedroom for Mary to deliver her first born child? Would the inn keeper’s wife have volunteered to be the mid-wife?
We know very little about the innkeeper or if indeed he had a wife. What we do know is he had no room in his inn for Jesus.
Jesus? You say. He turned Joseph and Mary away, not Jesus.
I beg to differ. His act of turning away these weary travelers without so much as offering floor space was indeed refusing space in his home for Jesus. Jesus the Savior of the world.
This story saddens me.
I must admit that I am privy to the whole story. I know who Jesus is. He is the Christ child, the Messiah, Immanuel. Who in their right mind would deny baby Jesus space?
Every time we fill our lives with the commercialism of Christmas we shine a brightly lit no vacancy sign in Jesus’ face.
Shopping lists, standing in long lines, grocery lists, decorating, scheduling parties and attending plays. Then we shuffle our children to their events.
We can become just as busy trying to keep Christ in Christmas. We surf the web looking for fresh ideas on how to celebrate advent. We search the library and the bookstores for the right books to read to our children and the accompanying songs and finger plays. We burn tanks of gasoline visiting live nativity scenes and watching Christmas plays.
Be very careful about over scheduling your calendar and under scheduling time alone with Jesus.
Often at the end of the day, we run until we have no energy for Jesus. We get burned out on the seasonal scene and forsake baby Jesus.
Year after year, we put so many characters in our Christmas story script that we forget to cast baby Jesus!
“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.
Don’t pile the presents up under your tree so high that the baby in the manger won’t fit.
Let’s do a mini-assessment.
Did you make room for an angel off the angel tree?
Did you participate in the operation Christmas shoe box project?
Did you drop a donation in the Salvation Army kettle?
Did you volunteer at the homeless shelter or soup kitchen?
Feel free to list any opportunity that you had to serve but passed it by. You failed to make room for it, for Jesus.
As we approach Christmas this year please remember this.
Refusing room for Jesus today may hinder him from residing in your heart later.
Remember whose birthday it is. We must be careful not to get so busy celebrating that we forget who the celebration is for. This is a time to celebrate Jesus.