If I were the ancient innkeeper, I would stand on the busiest street corner and shout at the top of my lungs: “Give me a break! What was I to do? My inn was full. We were in a busy season. These two youngsters, you know, they didn’t exactly look like the kind of clientele that I should go to the wall for. And it looked to me like they had one hotel room too many already. Besides all of that, if this youngster’s baby were born, it would likely be messy and might even upset my other guests. I was a businessman and I made a sound business decision. Of course, now that I know, I stay awake at night thinking of the missed opportunity. Give me a break, though, will you? They looked like a very ordinary couple of kids about to have an ordinary baby and the stable was all I had left.”
Two thousand years later, we cannot claim the innkeeper’s ignorance. In addition to the 29 books in the New Testament, there have been more books written about Jesus Christ than about any other person in the world. We have information-loads of it. Yet a strange phenomena occurs over and over again. Jesus Christ shows up at the inn of the human heart every day and, even though we are saturated with information accompanied by evidence, we still turn him away. Often we do this with reasoning not unlike the ancient innkeeper: “If Jesus is born in my heart, it could get messy and besides it might upset my friends and neighbours.”
If you are weighing the costs, that is an accurate accounting. The birth of Jesus Christ, whether in a Bethlehem stable or the human heart, tends to divide life into before and after, into BC and AD, and yes, it can upset some friendships and alliances. However, don’t just weigh the costs without counting the benefits. You will have the benefit of being released from guilt, having your very spirit indwelt and tenderly held by God himself, and eternal life with Christ. So I ask you, fellow innkeeper, is that not worth disturbing the whole place for? Is that not worth clearing out a room for? With Phillip Brooks, let us personally pray the last verse of his well-known carol:
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
~Written by Major Lorne Pritchett, Salvation Army
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and take some time to remember why we celebrate!