No Room at the Inn
By Joe Caruso Stories
At this time of the year, you’ll no doubt see many nativity scenes. They’ll be displayed in homes, on front lawns, maybe as part of a Christmas play. The nativity scene is a warm, familiar reminder of the humble birth of Jesus lying in a manger, surrounded by farm animals in the dark of night.
In the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, Mary and Joseph were making their way up from Nazareth to the town of Bethlehem to register for a census issued by Caesar Augustus. I’m sure Mary and Joseph were anxious to arrive at their final destination as Mary was soon to give birth to Jesus.
We can only imagine how they felt that evening as the parents-to-be eagerly searched for appropriate accommodations, only to find out on their arrival that there was no room at the inn. Despite this setback, Mary and Joseph did the best they could for the newborn king. Mary gave birth to her son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.
Little did the townspeople know, on that miraculous night who, in fact, it was lying in the manger. I’m sure with the commotion of the evening as visitors came to town for the census, it was easy for the innkeeper to justify the lack of accommodation. It was easy to get caught up with the busyness of the time and relegate the expecting couple to a cold stable outside of the inn.
Ironically, over 2000 years later little has changed. Christmas is one of the busiest and most commercialized times of the year. Many of us find ourselves running from activity to activity trying to fit everything in. There’s decorating the house, putting up lights, buying and wrapping presents, going to parties. It’s easy to get so caught up with the busyness of the season that we forget about who, the season is meant to honour. Like the innkeeper, we relegate Jesus to a small corner and get on with the busyness of our activities.
Having a full calendar can be great. It can mean we’re living a full life with meaningful relationships and activities.
But being busy can also distract us from what’s most important. If we fill our days with unimportant, time-consuming activities, it can drain our energy, leaving us little time to focus on what’s meaningful. We end up being tired, disappointed and stressed, and we miss out on the important moments that actually bring us joy.
Why is this such a common trap, not only at Christmas but throughout the year? One reason is because it’s so easy to become busy. To be busy all we have to do is say yes to everything. Focusing on what’s important on the other hand can be hard. It means having to prioritize and say yes to the right things.
It’s hard to decide what we should focus on, especially at Christmas when there are so many possibilities available to us. A simple trick to help us decide is to take a moment and step back from the busyness.
The Bible says to be still and know that I am God. There’s something to be said for taking a moment to be still and to step away from the busyness of life to focus on what’s really important. It’s often in this stillness, where we find clarity and meaning. Perhaps that’s why God tells us to take a moment to be still.
Think of the image of the first few words of the song Silent Night.
“Silent night holy night.
All is calm all is bright.”
These words resonate because they convey an image of peace, simplicity and clarity. It’s something we long for deep down. It’s a time to rest and rejuvenate. It’s where true connection takes place. What a stark contrast to the busyness of the town on that first Christmas evening.
So, how do we make room for Jesus in all the hustle and bustle taking place this Christmas? Take a moment to be still and prioritize what is really important. Here are a few ideas that can help:
- Reflect on what Jesus has done. Jesus came to earth in human form. He willingly suffered and was crucified on the cross for our sins. He rose again, making a way for our salvation.
- Thank Jesus for who He is. Jesus is the Light of the World, the Way the Truth and the Life, the Good Shepherd. He’s the Lamb of God, the King of Kings, our Saviour.
- Let the love of Jesus shine through you. Probably the best way to make room for Jesus this Christmas is to love others. Who needs to feel the love of Jesus this Christmas? Let’s make sure that we reflect His love wherever we go. If there’s someone special on our heart, let’s make sure we contact them.
By making room for Jesus this Christmas, we consciously place Him in His rightful position as Lord and Saviour of our life. In doing so, Jesus refills us with His love and we’re able to share His love with others around us. This Christmas season, may your heart be filled with the love of Jesus and may it overflow to everyone you meet.