The Bible is the story of hope for mankind. These are not mythical stories, but the truth, with specific details that are relevant to our hope. One important detail in the story of Jesus’ birth is how he is born, not in a palace, but in a common home among common people. Jesus reaches out to us and understands us because He became one of us. Therefore, we are invited to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy (Hebrews 4:16).
These are not mythical stories, but the truth, with specific details that are relevant to our hope.
One myth you may have heard was that Joseph and Mary were refused lodgings in Bethlehem, but Pastor Miles challenged this today by showing us some interesting historical and cultural context.
At the beginning of Luke 2, Joseph is on his way back to his hometown of Bethlehem (“The House of Bread” where Jesus, “The Bread of Life” will be born. Coincidence?) to be registered along with Mary, his betrothed wife who is about to give birth to the Son of God.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
The word in question in this passage is “inn.” Pastor Miles explained that in these Biblical times, a standard house had one room with one extra room called the “inn,”or “katáluma,” used as a guest chamber in a private home. (Elijah stayed in the inn of a home when he traveled, and the inn was sometimes an upper room, such as the one where Jesus and His disciples had the Last Supper.) Also, the stables of the house here attached. For extra warmth and safety from theft, animals were actually inside the periphery of the house, able to eat from troughs or mangers in the family’s living space.
Pastor Miles also added that it would have been odd for Joseph to be turned away in his hometown, especially with a baby coming. So instead, he challenged us to see that this host family, through they have no room in the inn of their home, invites Jospeh and Mary in to the warmth and safety of their own living space.
1. Make room for Jesus in your crowded life.
Can you imagine someone showing up at your house ready to deliver a baby while you have company staying with you? You are busy, right? Are you willing to change your plans?
The hosts of this story invite Joseph and Mary into their home anyway and give Mary a warm and safe place to deliver her child. If you have vilified the inn keeper in the past, adjust your thinking. This home owner was accommodating and inviting.
Are you willing to change your schedule to accommodate Jesus? He doesn’t just want to fit in the few minutes you have leftover. A relationship with Christ is the most important thing you can have in your life, so make time for Him and spend time with Him.
2. Make room for Jesus as a family member and not a guest.
When you have guests, it’s a temporary situation. You make sure that your house is clean, you cook your best foods, and you are on your best behavior. Then once the guests leave, you become yourself again. You may be able to fool your guests, but your family knows the real you. They know what you look like with no makeup and that you normally sleep until noon.
This an analogy for religion versus relationship. God doesn’t want us to go to church prim and proper, pretending that everything is good and righteous, and then coming back home to let the guard down in secret. Jesus wants full access, the intimacy of a family member. He wants to be invited into your living space and to be given access to your messy closets and your dirty socks. He wants you to be yourself with Him. He knows all of your junk and loves you anyway.
3. Make room for Jesus in your everyday life.
Even your family isn’t with you all day, at work or school or in every hobby or every meeting you attend, but God wants access to all of your life. Invite Him in with you wherever you are. Grant Him access to your dreams, aspirations, doubts, struggles, thoughts, feelings, and desires.
When you have a decision to make, stop and ask the Lord what He thinks. Be willing to wait for His answer. Be willing to wait for His words and His guidance. He can help you with what to say, where to go, and how to step. Let him be “in your business,” as He knows it much better than you do.
Invite Him in and see!