Tuesday, December 10, 2013

No Room at the Inn?

It has been awhile since I wrote.  I think the gap occurred when my mother became ill and then passed into heaven.  At that time I did not seem to have any words in me to share.

Now, though, with the coming of Christmas, I have been immersing my heart in the old, old stories of the season.  But with new eyes.

First, let me highly recommend my 2 fav bloggers' Advent books.  The 1st is by Liz Curtis Higgs, entitled The Women of Christmas.  It is an awesome new look at the lives of three women from the first Advent of Christ.  (http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com/)

The second is a devotional by Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift.  It has 25 days of devotions that follow along with the Jesse Tree. (http://www.aholyexperience.com/)  Both of these women have a wonderful way with words that I cherish and appreciate.

So why this title "No Room at the Inn?'?  Because as I have been reliving the Christmas story I have been stopped cold by the thought that the Creator God has no room at the inn.  That the people of the story are saying no to their Creator!

Mary and Joseph are newly wed.  They are young, Mary much younger than I had thought she was.  They have traveled to the City of David, better known as Bethlehem, because God had stirred the heart of the ruler in those parts to count all the people.  This required them to travel about 100 miles to Joseph's family's town.

They must have walked, for few people could afford even a mule then.  I wonder if the roads were dusty and dry.  Or were they packed down hard by the many travelers ahead of them?  Maybe it was wet and muddy?  All I really know is that they were walking and walking while Mary's womb held God Himself.  (Gives me goosebumps!)

This weary couple knocked at the door of the inn as the noisy throngs partied about them.  Party, you ask.  I think there were some who viewed this required "vacation" as one big party.  A reunion for many with family they had not seen for some time.

Mary, young, pregnant with God's Only Son, stands and waits with hope that they will find room at the inn.  But alas, no room.  Perhaps they were late-comers to the reunion and their kinsmen had taken all the rooms.

Or, maybe, the innkeeper was a greedy person.  He had guests of varying status in life, some much richer than others, as seen by their fine robes.  Others not so well off, but still able to pay.  But this young couple?  He could tell that they could not pay as well as others.  Maybe he even considered turning someone out of their rooms.  But this couple could not begin to match the rent of those he already had.

Could Mary hear the paying customers behind the innkeeper's back?  Did they acknowledge her state and sympathize with her?  Poor girl.  Or did they turn their backs and drink their wine in disinterest?  Could not one of them offer to sleep in the dining room so the young couple could have a room?

The rich ones would not have even thought of such a thing.  Make room for this poor couple?  We don't move over for anyone!  Or maybe they feared being out in the street.  So many people, so many thieves and purse-cuts.  No, they could not give up the safety of their room.

And for a moment I am looking with angel-eyes at this scene:  the darkening sky contrasted with the fire burning brightly behind the innkeeper; the joy and noise from inside verses the eerie quietness outside in the street; the rested and well-fed guests highlighted behind the weary, even hungry couple.  God's Son, Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, rejected even before His birth.

I tell you we too fit into this picture.  When Jesus was preparing to die, He told His disciples that He was going to have to leave so that the Father could send His Helper to them.  He would die a dishonorable death crucified on a cross, the only charge against Him?  Our sins.  My sins.  Your sins.  To pay on our behalf.

He did not stay dead, but rose to new life.

Then God sent His Spirit to come and live in us if we only believe.

"...because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:5).  

And "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?" (1Cor. 6:19).

Is there room in your heart for this "God-with-us"?  Most of us would not make room for Him, steeped in the Me-Generation that we are.  We fear that we will have to give up something.  Money.  Jobs.  Comfort. Self-sufficiency.  Safety.  Free time.

Yet Jesus said, "I stand at the door and knock" (Rev. 3:20)  He wants to know if there is room in your Heart's Inn?

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