Weary, hungry, desperate, in pain –
Those words probably sum up how Mary and Joseph were feeling as they searched for a place to stay in Bethlehem.
There was no room.
Except…for one small and dark place, a manger.
I can remember an incident like this in my life. Many years ago, my family took a road trip to Yellowstone National Park. Then we snaked through Idaho and Oregon, and finally returned home, traveling down the length of California. The previous year we had taken a loooonnnggg trek – 5,445 miles in 9 days. This year, trying to find a way to "top" that trip, we decided that we wouldn't book any motels ahead of time.
It was going to be a "fly by the seat of your pants" adventure.
Well, it worked out well for the most part. Except for one very long day. We'd been on the road for hours (not like 4 or 5, more like 10 or 12) – and we just wanted to stop. Finally we arrived in a town in the middle of Idaho.
Driving around street after street, all we saw were neon red "NO VACANCY" signs. It got discouraging – and then despair set in as we contemplated sleeping in the car.
Finally, we found a hotel that still said "VACANCY." It was like 1:30 AM now, and I'm sure the proprietor loved being woken up at that time! Yes, he had only one room available. But, there was a hitch. It was the "Whirlpool Suite" – $$$. However, after some discussion (haggling and bullying), he agreed to give it to us at the price of a regular room.
Let me tell you, at this point I would have settled for the "Toilet Bowl" room – I was exhausted.
So, the four of us piled into that room – with one queen bed – and a whirlpool in the corner. Tired and sore little feet soaked in the tub – and finally one father and two sons shared the bed, while Mom slept in a chaise chair.
It wasn't the most luxurious room I've ever been in – but it may have been the one that I was the most grateful for.
So, Mary and Joseph finally arrive at their pre-ordained destination – and the Savior is born.
I ponder this…
Isn't Jesus still looking for room at the inn?
Isn't He still knocking on the doors to hearts?
How often is He being greeted with the sign, "NO VACANCY"?
How many 5-star hearts – with their wealth, and fancy lifestyles – say to Him, "Oh, sorry, sir – there's no room for you here. And to tell you the truth, you just wouldn't fit in anyway."
What about those AAA-rated 2 or 3 star places? With their frantic career-making, child-raising, middle-class lifestyles. Do they say to Him, "Oh, sorry, buddy – haven't had time to fix up a room for you."
How many times does Jesus come to person after person, only to be rejected by the sad and sorry words, "No room."
To so many He is nothing more than a vagrant – an inconvenience, an embarrassment, a pest. He doesn't belong in the "beautiful surroundings" of many lives. He doesn't fit into busy schedules and self-important goals. He isn't appealing to the plush and poshy people of pretensions.
It occurs to me that Jesus was not meant to come to the comfortable.
He came for those who are like Mary and Joseph – weary, hungry, desperate, in pain.
He comes to the humble places. The dark corners that no one ever thinks about, or that they frantically try to hide – from others and from themselves.
The heart is like a manger.
Secret, secluded, sometimes lonely and dirty.
Jesus wants to come there.
"Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in…" (Revelation 3:20)
We have to hear the knocking, we have to open the door.
This is true of all people.
Some need to open the door to salvation. We believers have to open the door to sanctification.
We have to put ourselves aside for Jesus to arrive and abide in our hearts.
Oh, dear Lord, yes – there is room…
What will you say to Jesus when He comes knocking? Are you open for business?
(I am linked today with Joan - just "SHARING HIS BEAUTY")
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"