There was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
It’s notable that the events that change the course of history, that capture our attention and emotion gradually fade away, almost forgotten. The anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor rivaled only in our time by the attacks of September 11th 2001 came and went this past week with little notice.
But the story of Jesus over 2000 years later remains to the critic the most controversial, but to the believer the most important event in history. It is the event that transcends time. However you may feel about the celebration of Christmas it serves the purpose of keeping the story alive. But the important question to consider whatever you may believe about Jesus is will you let Him in?
Three central events in the story of His birth ask this question. In our reading of scripture we see God ask this question to three different groups of people.
The Innkeeper- Imagine for a moment that you own a hotel in the city where the Olympics or the Super Bowl or some other national or international event is to be held. Rooms are booked months if not years ahead of time. History does not provide us with a record of the number of people who traveled to Bethlehem but the census ordered by Caesar Augustus would almost certainly overloaded this small village with people. Scripture reads in those days a census was demanded of the entire Roman world which at that time included Israel. Late in the day two weary travelers one heavy with child shows up at at the innkeeper’s front desk asking, “Do you have a room?” Possibly there was simply no room available. Maybe in the Jewish world of that time heavy with class distinction the couple was recognized as, “not from around here.” Whatever the reason the answer was no.
The Shepherds- Being a shepherd was no easy job. It required long hours away from home, sleepless nights guarding the flock from predators. Shepherds were also on the lower end of the pecking order in society that valued status. But this night as they watched over their flocks something completely unexpected was about to happen. The birth of the baby king who would change the world was not announced to Herod in his palace or to the religious order in their temple. The announcement was made to those who probably would have been considered the most unworthy. The quiet night was interrupted by an angel telling them “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. This will be assigned to you you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
The Magi- These men had traveled a great distance to find a king. Not a full-grown King but a baby king. This would have been very unusual in that time as most kings would be a prince before their promotion to king. Nevertheless the Magi had studied the patterns of the stars that predicted the birth of this king, looking for the time this event would be fulfilled. In their journey they encountered a want to be king who was really no King at all. Who tried to convince them to come back and tell him after they found the baby king that he might worship to. They found the baby and were overjoyed. Scripture tells us after worshipping Him they presented him with gifts. And then after being warned in a dream to not return to Herod they returned to their country by a different way.
If we look close enough we can see ourselves in these three stories. We know the story. We know about Jesus. Even those who deny the gift He came to bring know.
Sometimes we’re going about life’s business. Sometimes we’re just living day to day. But one day hidden in the busyness, in the events of day to day life there appears a divine appointment.
The innkeeper turned Him away.
The Magi keep searching until they found Him.
The shepherds went, observed and believed.
In our world we still see all of these. But however He may come to you it is still the most important question you will ever answer. Will you let Him in?