We’ve all seen the Christmas plays. Children clad in bathrobes try to recall their lines as they portray the precious story. Sometimes the kindly innkeeper is depicted showing the exhausted Mary and Joseph to a cozy area replete with a feeding trough full of nice, clean hay. A carefully-positioned light and strains of “Away in a Manger” make the scene look almost idyllic as Mary lovingly places her firstborn into the manger-bed.
Reality: The only Scriptural facts are presented in the above verses. How they came to the manger setting is unknown. Our imaginations are all we can use to consider the conditions of the birth. And as far as clean, soft hay…probably not. Joseph may have needed to shoo some slobbering cows away from dinner and dodge droppings to make room for the newborn Jesus.
No room in the inn…before Jesus was even born, He faced rejection.
Have you ever heard the poignant song, “No Room”? It is part of a cantata by John W. Peterson, entitled “Night of Miracles”. Here are the words:
No room, only a manager of hay. No room, He is a stranger today.
No room, here in the hearts of mankind. No room, no cheery welcome could find.
Today, the story is the same. Millions, even billions, have no room for the Babe of the manger who is the Savior of the world. Yet do many claiming allegiance to follow this Christ offer Him much better? At this time of year set aside to celebrate His birth, do we inadvertently become the innkeeper, “taking care of business”, (preparing for and rushing to one holiday event after another) while turning our back on the One we so desperately need to focus on? Or are we deliberately setting aside time to ponder the Scriptures, truly listen to the carols, and seek to give Jesus a gift He will cherish…a daily surrender of our lives to His gracious control?
“Are you ready for Christmas”? I’ve already heard that question this year; perhaps you have, too. I want to have the courage to respond, “What do you mean?” Then as I listen to their answer, I’ll silently pray for courage to say (and truthfully mean it), “I’m a follower of that Jesus the carols proclaim, and yes, I’m daily making my heart ready for Christmas. How about you? Are you ready for Christmas?” That question may open doors for sharing the best GIFT all. Let’s pray together to make it so.Best wishes from lefthandrightbrain.