I put up my nativity set that I got in Congo last night. My children got out their nativity set to play with. Noah took all of the nativity people and tried to fit them on to his aircraft carrier toy. He said he was playing "Noah's Ark." He told me that all of the people wouldn't fit on the boat. I noticed that the one he left off the boat was the baby Jesus. There just wasn't room for him.
Just like the first Christmas. No one could make room for Jesus and he was born in a barn. The Christ child! There was no room for the Messiah! I can hardly bear the thought of my king being born in a barn and put inside a feeding trough. How easy is it for us to say that without a doubt we would have taken in the pregnant Mary? But would you really?
"Wait!" I'd like to think I would scream, "I have room! Come and let Jesus be born here!" But if Mary and Joseph had taken me up on that offer, would I have really done it? Or would I have said, "Well... actually, it's kinda cramped in here. And we have our routine and you might get in the way of that a little. Oh, and by the way- we all snore. You know, come to think of it, we're really pretty comfortable here just as we are. Are you sure you want to stay here? We don't have a lot of money and our TV is very small. If you went down the street, they'd probably let you stay there and their house is way bigger and they have a lot of money. You might really be more comfortable somewhere else. I'll tell you what- here. Here's a few dollars. Good luck. I really do think someone else could accomodate you better. And if they can't, well... I'm just sorry. It's just not a good time for me. You understand, right?"
Meanwhile, Jesus gets born in a barn...
And meanwhile, millions of children all over the world go without families because we tell ourselves the very same excuses. What are we doing about that? What are YOU doing about that? Are you telling yourself that it is someone else's problem? Are you saying that surely someone out there will take in these children who has a bigger house, more money, and more time? What if they don't? Excuses. We are full of them. Myself included. A 5 and a 6 year old set of sisters needing a family have been on my mind lately. I've stared at their pictures almost every morning for nearly a month. I can't shake them. I found myself praying for them by name at the alter yesterday. I heard myself saying, "God, please soften the heart of a family who would take these two precious girls in. I'd sure love to have them as my daughters, but God, I'm just not sure that person is supposed to me right now because we're just out of room and not ready to start that now." If God would have talked to me right then, he would have probably said, "Meg- those are all great excuses, but did you ever stop to think that you're heart is the one I'm softening?" How many times do we throw our excuses around? All the while, they wait...
They wait all alone. Hungry. Lonely. Scared. Hurting. They wait because we think we don't have enough room. Or the nicest house. Or have enough money to complete the process. Or, or, or...
So before you and I judge the innkeeper, are we making room in the inn? I know that not everyone is supposed to or needs to adopt. But are you supporting an adoptive family who is making room? Are you sponsoring a child? Or are you making excuses? My prayer this Christmas season, is that as I reflect on the birth of Christ, I look around my inn and see the things that I have made room for. I pray that the "things" that I have made room for will lose their value. I pray that in letting those things go, I will realize just how much "room" I have, not only in my home, but in my heart.
...Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'
"Then they are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then HE will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.' -Matthew 25:33-40 The Message Bible
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