Is there Room in the Inn?


We have all heard the story before, Joseph has to go to Bethlehem to be counted in the census and he takes his new wife, Mary with him.  Mary is great with child as they set off on the journey that will take several days to make.  They arrive and we hear that “her time has come” they attempt to find lodging, but because everyone, literally everyone, is in town there is no room.  Door after door, they knock and get the same answer from within; there is no room in the inn.  There is no place for a mother about to give birth and her husband.

As you can imagine, Joseph is frantic at this point, he is looking for any place for Mary to lay her head.  Finally they find room.  It is not the Ritz but he does not care.  The Inn Keeper takes him out behind his place to a cave that has been hewn in the side of the hill.  Inside are the beasts of burden, the ox, the cow, the donkey, maybe some sheep and perhaps even a pig.  But Joseph does not care, he needs a place and here is a dry place for them to get out of the weather and Mary can give birth to their child.

There is no bed, no place for Mary to lay her head, just a manger, the trough where the animals only moments ago were eating, this is the place that Mary will lay her child.  She will place him in the lowliest of places after the birth, wrap him in whatever they can find to keep him warm, and watch over him.  They both have some understanding of what is going on, but they are not quite sure.  They have both been visited by angels to assure them that all will be well, but as Joseph looks around he has his doubts.  What am I doing, the doubts start to form in his mind.  In the Icon of the feast, we see Joseph, down at the bottom all by himself talking to a little man with a confused look on his face.  Then strangers start to arrive, they say they have come to worship the child, and they have brought gifts.

But what of the Inn?  We understand that what we are talking about here is basically people’s houses that had rooms to let.  These were not hotels as we think of them today more like spaces for people to sleep and maybe get a meal in the morning.  But there was no room.

Two Sunday’s before Christmas we hear the Gospel story about people being invited to a banquet and all of the excuses they have for not coming.  One has to tend his crops, another bought a new ox and needs to care for it, and the last one says he just got married, and well, his new wife won’t let him go!  This is the reason that particular Sunday is called Excuse Sunday!

The people in this story had no room for the feast, the king was inviting them to the palace and they had no room in their busy lives for the king.  The Inn Keeps had no room for the king, they were busy with all of the guests and trade and what not, and they had no room for the King of Kings.  Tonight, this night, that same King is knocking on the door of your hearts looking for a little bit of room.

He was born into the lowliest of conditions to remind us that we need to be poor in spirit.  His birth was announced first, not to Kings, but to simple shepherds on the hill side tending their sheep.  We see in this event a lesson of humility, we need to be humble of heart and of spirit.  The Kings will come and worship him, and bend their knees, to show to the world that this little baby will be the King of the Universe.  God has bent His knee and come down to save His creation.  The creator of all has taken on the form of His creation that we might take on the form of gods!

He was born into this world in the image and likeness of God so he might renew that image that all of us have been given, that image and likeness of God that resides inside each and every one of us.

He was born to the lowliest of people to being the message of hope and the message of peace to the world.  He did not come to free us from our physical bondage as a military leader but he came to free us from the bondage of sin, the sin of our first parents, as a spiritual leader.  Jesus Christ is the first born of all, He is the ultimate High Priest and has come with open arms to welcome us home.

In the hustle and bustle of these days have we made room for him?  Have we taken time to ponder and meditate on what this season is all about, it is not about the parties and the gifts, it is about the ultimate gift, that gift that God has given us this night, the gift on Sonship, the gift of life!  God has condescended to come down to the earth, and become one of us, to free us from our sins!  He is knocking on the door of your heart, He is looking for a place to lay His head, He is looking for a place to make his abode.  Do we have room for him?  Are we willing to open the door for Him and welcome him to the party of our lives?

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shined the light of knowledge upon the world; for thereby they that worshipped the stars were instructed by a star to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory be to Thee.

Christ is Born!  Glorify Him!

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