“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.” Luke 2:7
We all know that old familiar moment from countless nativity plays. Mary and Joseph arrive at the town of Bethlehem. The impossible mother and her faithful husband-to-be have reached the end of their tough journey. Centuries of waiting are about to end. It is almost time for the birth of the serpent crusher. God is about to show a miraculous sign that He hasn’t forgotten us or given up on us. Outcasts are welcome!
But as all who have attended a nativity plays will know there is a final twist. When Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem there is no room for them to stay in the village inn. There are various thoughts to why this may be. Obviously the census was happening, so many would have been in Bethlehem. Also Mary was pregnant out of marriage so they may have been shunned by Joseph’s relatives who wouldn’t have wanted them near them. Whatever the reason, there was no room for them in the inn. And so the baby Jesus, the serpent crusher, was laid in a manger for there was no room in the village inn. Bethlehem went down in history as the little town with no room for its King. The sound of heaven touching earth was the sound of doors being slammed shut with the message ‘No room for you here’.
And the challenge for us this Christmas is to make sure we do not end up like Bethlehem, with no room for our King. We must prepare Him room in our hearts. Jesus left the throne of heaven and humbled Himself, becoming the slave for us, reaching out to us, dying a criminal’s death on the cross for us – the sinless spotless Lamb offering the one complete and all sufficient sacrifice to pay our debts in full and wash the stain of our sin white as the winter snow. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18.
We have to respond! We have to let Jesus in to our hearts and lives, not just for Christmas but always. We have so much going on, so much baggage that gets added to the Christmas season. Parties to go to. Presents to wrap (or possibly even still to buy…). Relatives to visit. TV specials to watch. Food to prepare. Carol services to attend. So much to do, and so little time as Christmas draws ever nearer. But Jesus can not be pushed out! This is all about Him. The reason for Christmas is because of Christ, the serpent crusher – heaven touching earth, reaching out to us. Prepare room for Him in your heart this Christmas. Don’t put up a ‘No room’ sign. Respond in faith. Accept the offer of salvation. Grab the hand that is reaching out to you. Receive the greatest gift of all, given for all mankind. Join in the joy that comes with forgiveness. Embrace God’s mercy and grace that is offered in place of judgement and condemnation for sin’s curse is broken! For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Joel 2:32).
Prepare Him room in your hearts this Christmas. Make room for Jesus. Welcome in. For He is saying to us “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear the calling and open the door, I will come in and we will share a meal as friends.” (Revelation 3:20). Don’t be like Bethlehem. Don’t be caught with no room for our Saviour this Christmas. Open the door and welcome in the King of all Kings, the Light of the World who gave up His life for you and for me.