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A Moment From World History: The Innkeeper’s Decision

BY JEFF OLSEN – 

We are now in the midst of that time of year when Christmas is the focus, and the customary seasonal activities occupy much of our personal time. You know; things such as choosing the tree that is just right for that special place in the house, shopping for that perfect gift which he or she may never guess they would receive, making plans for the kids (and perhaps grandkids too) to come home so the family can be together, attending the Christmas parties with friends, co-workers and church family, buying the ingredients for Grandma’s special fruit salad and other traditional dishes which are always holiday favorites, and of course looking forward to some of the post-season bowl games and maybe a little more hunting. And of course it’s time for Dad to make his annual pilgrimage up into the attic and haul down the decorations and then back up again to try locating that one box that has the special ornaments that we can’t do without. Then, he drags out the Christmas lights and knows better than to expect them all to light up. After tinkering with them for too long he thinks – no problem! As cheap as Christmas lights are we’ll just buy a new set the next time we’re in town. Wasteful? Maybe, but he rationalizes that his time is more valuable than the nominal expense. Of course, even with the new set there are one or two bulbs which refuse to cooperate, but surely they won’t be noticed. Wrong… Oh well, Dad thinks it is still a beautiful tree, and after all – it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It is interesting to see how this special season of the year reveals much about each of us, especially our priorities and our treasure. It is a vivid illustration of how we tend to take the time or, if you will, make the room for those activities and those people who are most important to us. The key phrase here is “making the room.” As the keepers of our own lives, there is much to be learned about each of us through whom and what occupies our time and our room(s). This is not only true at Christmas time, but throughout the year as well.

I can’t help but think about this when reading Luke, chapter 2, in the account of Jesus’ birth. In verse 7, we read that there was no room for Him in the inn. How many times have I read and heard this verse and how many times have I failed to consider the innkeeper and how uncaring he appeared to have been. While it is true that no innkeeper is actually mentioned in the biblical account, it is likely that one did exist. I’ve often wondered why the innkeeper couldn’t have somehow found some room or arranged for them to stay at another inn or in a home. Why do you think this extra effort may never have been done? Why do you think that the innkeeper apparently took the easy way out and refused to let Jesus into his inn? Was there really no room for Him in the inn, or was there a refusal to make room for Him in the inn? Does this not strike a personal chord in your life – in mine? If not, it is certainly time that it did. There is contemporary song of the season called, There’s A New Kid in Town. Well, I’ve got news. He’s no longer a new kid in town and He’s not even a kid anymore. He’s been in town for years and He’s still being kept out in the cold waiting for many of us to make room for Him.

When it’s all said and done, and what it all boils down to is a decision. Like the innkeeper in Bethlehem, each of us have a decision to make with Jesus? While, praise God, He is no longer a new kid in town, the baby in a manger, He is the risen King of Kings and Lord of Lords who, has since and to this day, stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20). The question is: will the innkeeper answer the door and let Jesus in or will He hear once again that there is no room for Him?

So, before we move any further along with the festivities of the season, just maybe we should decide that Jesus does have a place of importance in all this and then make some room for Him.

He does want in so very much and not for only a season but for a permanent stay. Perhaps it wouldn’t even be a bad idea to give Him the biggest and best room we have. Better yet, why not just sign the title of the inn over to Him and allow God to convert that old shabby run down inn into a temple where the Holy Spirit can dwell and have total control of our lives (1 Corinthians 3:16). What a birthday present that would be for Jesus!

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