“And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Lk. 2:6,7). Historian and Gospel writer, Luke recorded a terse statement that left a stain upon that Bethlehem inn keeper: “…there was no room for them in the inn.” But, the tragedy is that statement is not only an historical fact, it is also a scene re-enacted again and again in thousands and millions of hearts and homes today—no room for Jesus.
The Apostle John records, “He came unto His own, and those who were His own received Him not” (Jn. 1:1:11). For centuries the Jews had been looking for the coming of their Messiah, yet when He came there was no fanfare, no royal reception, no welcome wagon—not even room at the inn at Bethlehem. The Creator and sovereign Ruler of the universe, the Savior of the world was ushered onto earth amid the stench of a stable. But, what was true then is still true now. Christ is still “despised and forsaken (rejected) of men” as Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be (Isa. 53:3). Multitudes of men and women, young people, and boys and girls have still not made room for the Master. “Our Lord is now rejected and by this world disowned; by the many still neglected and by the few enthroned.”
How strange, how ironical, how tragically true that even at Christmas time there are still only a few who have any room for Him. At this Christmas season the world is filled with hatred, violence, and suffering and largely because for Christ the world has no welcome. Do you have room for Him? We have room for festively decorated houses, brightly wrapped packages crowding out the tree, but do we have room for Jesus? We have time for parties, for visiting family and friends, but do we have time for the One who said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (Jn. 14:6)? We talk about hunting success or lack thereof, football and basketball games, the presidential candidate debates, but do we talk of our Savior, the One who is to have “first place in everything” (Col. 1:18)?
Ever wonder why the inn keeper turned Mary and Joseph away? Perhaps it was lack of recognition that kept Christ out. The inn keeper was probably unaware of the identity of Mary and the child she carried, and with the enrollment for taxation, many had undoubtedly come to the inn seeking lodging—it was a little hard to “call ahead!” His ignorance was understandable, but ours is inexcusable. Jesus comes to us with evidence that demands a verdict—a decision. He comes to the door of your heart, not only with credentials of His birth, His sinless life, and His miracles, but He comes with wounded hands testifying to His sacrifice on Calvary to save you. He comes with multitudes of men and women all witnessing to His power to save and empower. Many voices have been seeking admission to your heart: pleasures of the world, recreation, money, job status, retirement, houses and property, sexual allurement. Have you made room for them and not Jesus because you didn’t recognize Him when He came?
Or maybe it was preoccupation that kept Christ out. The Bethlehem inn was undoubtedly crowded in every room, every hallway, and the inn keeper was probably busy getting everyone settled in. It is easy to become so busy, so preoccupied with the cares of the world that we don’t hear Jesus knocking, and have no room to squeeze Him into our hectic lifestyle.
Perhaps it was consideration of remuneration that kept Christ out. Maybe the clothing of Mary and Joseph and the condition of their baggage was against them. They were poor folks. If only he had known who was to be born that night it would have abundantly paid both then and in the future. The inn would have become a tourist attraction for sure! Christ is the best of paying guests. He comes to enrich, not to impoverish. No one is truly rich who doesn’t know Christ and no one is really poor with Him. Have you rejected Christ because you thought you’d have to give up your belongings—your “good times”? To receive Christ is to become “heirs of God” (Ro. 8:17), Creator of the Universe, and “In His presence is fullness of Joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).
Is there room in your heart for Jesus? Do you recognize who He really is? Are you so preoccupied that you have no time to consider Him? Are you afraid of what you might have to give up if you receive Him into your life? In the book of Revelation we have Jesus’ messages to seven of the churches in Asia Minor during the first century. The church at Laodicea amazingly had no room for Jesus. The people were going through the motions and rituals of religion, but didn’t have a personal relationship with Him that affected their every-day living. To them, to that church Jesus said: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). Maybe He is knocking at the door of your heart. Let Him in now or the day will come when you will knock vainly at His door and He will say, “Depart from Me, I never knew you” (Mt. 7:23). It will be too late. “Now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2. “God’s Spirit will not always strive with man” (Gen. 6:3).
“Room and time now give to Jesus;
Soon will pass God’s day of grace;
Soon thy heart be cold and silent,
And the Savior’s pleading cease.”
If you have never invited Christ into your life as Savior and Lord, will you not say today, “Come into my heart Lord Jesus! There is room in my heart for Thee.” Maybe you are already a Christian, but have become so busy and preoccupied with things of every-day life—your job, family, entertainment, hobbies, recreation, etc.—that you have crowded Him out of you daily activities and only give token commitment to Him. You no longer have a quiet time reading God’s Word and talking to Him. You attend church and Bible study only if it is convenient and doesn’t interfere with other plans. Is Jesus perfectly “at home” in your heart? Does He have access to every area of your life? Is He just present, “cargo on board,” or is He preeminent, “Captain of the ship”? Remember the challenge that God gave to the Corinthian believers who were living according to their selfish desires instead of letting Christ be Lord of their lives? He said: “Do you not know (have you forgotten) that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? You have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in you body” (I Cor. 6:19,20). Don’t forget the price God paid to offer you eternal life, and “after all He’s done for me, how can I do less than give Him my best, and live for Him eternally?”
Have a very joyous Christmas,