No room at the inn

The Covington News - - Religion -

One of the trou­bling facts of the first Christ­mas ac­count is the in­cred­u­lous re­port that Im­manuel, God with us, would be born in a sta­ble be­cause there was “no room for them in the inn,” (Luke 2:7).

Amaz­ing. The most im­por­tant event in hu­man his­tory was tran­spir­ing, and it is hap­pen­ing in a barn. Let that sink in for a mo­ment. We tend to glam­or­ize it to­day. We pic­ture it as a quaint, quite comfortable set­ting to­day. We for­get that it was a smelly, dirty and re­ally quite un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion for a young cou­ple about to give birth to their first born son.

Les­lieLe­landFields puts it into per­spec­tive when she writes, “Let the sta­ble still as­ton­ish. Straw– dirt floor. Dull eyes, dirty flanks of don­key. Crum­bling, crooked walls. No bed to carry that pain, and then the child–rag-wrapped and laid to cry in a trough. Who would have cho­sen this? Who would have said, ‘Yes, let the God of all of Heaven and earth be born here in this place?’ Who but the same God who stands in the darker, fouler rooms of our hearts and says, ‘Yes, let the God of Heaven and earth be born in this place,” (Karon, “Jan Patches of God­light,” Pen­guin Books, New York, NY 2001).

Now I can think of a num­ber of rea­sons why there was no room back then. Two-thou­sand years ago this cou­ple were un­knowns. The baby about to be born, as far as any­one knew — ex­cept for Mary, Joseph, El­iz­a­beth and Zachariah — was just an­other baby. While there was no room in the inn, the inn-keeper was not the heart­less man we so of­ten paint him to be; he at least per­mit­ted this cou­ple to uti­lize his sta­ble for the night.

Sadly, th­ese 2,000 plus years later, even though we cel­e­brate the birth of Christ, to so many peo­ple he is noth­ing more than an anony­mous fig­ure in his­tory. They’ve never taken the time to get ac­quainted with the one who is cen­tral to the cel­e­bra­tion. Like spoiled chil­dren at a birth­day party, we want to en­joy the ben­e­fits of the party, but in our own selfish lit­tle minds, we make our­selves the cen­ter of the fes­tiv­i­ties, not the birth­day boy.

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