I love to study the images of Christmas. This year a new image came to me; one I had not considered before, which really is the combination of two images I have studied many times.
Luke 2:7 says, “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
There was no room for them in the Bethlehem hotel. This fact often reminds me that sometimes my life is too “crowded” for Christ. I have great intentions for my relationship with Him, but often I choose my “pleasures” over time with Him. Sad to admit, but if I am honest, and you were to look at my schedule many days, it could be said of me that I have “no room” for Christ.
Luke 2:8-9 says, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.”
The shepherds remind me that God first appeared with the news of His Son to those who society considered outcasts. I have read that the courts refused shepherds testimonies in a court of law because they considered them untrustworthy. Shepherds appeared at the bottom of the social status, but they made themselves available to the Christ child. It reminds me that although I have needed more grace than most pastors His grace is fully available even to me!
I have never combined the above two images. Think about this for a moment. The fact that the inn had no room may have been necessary in order for the shepherds to receive the announcement. Imagine if there had been room in the inn. The shepherds would not have been able to visit the Christ child. They would have had to find a place to take a bath, change clothes, and probably change their occupation if they had a hope of seeing Him. As shepherds, they would have been welcome in a barn, but not in the Bethlehem “Hyatt”.
It is a great reminder to me this Christmas that God comes to those who do not deserve His presence or His love. Immanuel presents Himself in places the “good people” never go! He loves people the world has rejected and He makes Himself available without regard to our background, our reputation, the gossip about us, or even our smelliness.
This year I am more thankful than ever that there was “no room for them in the inn.”