And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. – Luke 2:7
Mary and Joseph had traveled about 70 miles from their hometown of Nazareth to Bethlehem for the very untimely census – untimely because Mary was very pregnant.
She wasn’t at the stage of pregnancy at which a woman has that adorable baby bump that everyone just wants to touch. She was at the ready-to-blow stage of pregnancy at which people are afraid to touch you because you look as if you’re ready to burst. And she had just traveled the 70 miles by donkey. If you’re looking to induce labor, that just might be the ticket.
Scripture only tells us there was no room for them in the inn. Yes, the little town of Bethlehem would have been a beehive of activity for which it wasn’t particularly well-suited. But then imagine an innkeeper opening his door to a bedraggled and bursting pregnant woman. With all the demand for room availability and the requirements of other customers, would you really want a woman giving birth in your room? Not likely.
So there was no room for them in the inn.
Regardless of the circumstances, others had come first. Other people had arrived before they did. Perhaps others had more money or more influence or less – um – baggage. It all comes out the same: no room.
Today Jesus makes His home in the hearts of those who receive Him as their Savior and Lord by faith. But often we fail to make room in our hearts for Him, or we fail to open every door of our hearts. Other things have come first. Other things crowd Him out.
Those other things may be the love of money – worldly success, the pride of life. They could be human relationships, addiction, self-righteousness, heartbreak, sexual sin or even fear. They could be anything we elevate above our relationship with Christ or anything with which we fail to trust Him. It all comes out the same: no room.
God, who holds the hearts of kings in His hands, could have compelled an innkeeper to say yes to Mary and Joseph, welcoming in the newborn Savior. But God doesn’t work like that, because He wants to give freely and cheerfully of ourselves to Him, just as He gives freely and abundantly to us. Love isn’t love if it is compelled. A heart doesn’t truly receive Him if the door is forced open.
This Christmas, as you enjoy the music and the traditions and the food and the gifts and the fellowship, make room in your heart for the One whose birth changed human history and whose death and resurrection secured our eternity. Answer the door. He is knocking.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. – Revelation 3:20