Joseph & Mary Travel to Bethlehem
During the reign of Caesar Augustus, a census was decreed, which required everyone to travel to their hometowns. Joseph, being from the family of David, had to travel to Bethlehem, David’s ancient home.
So Joseph and Mary (now pretty far along in her pregnancy) set off from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The trip would have been about 90 miles, and would have taken at least 3 or 4 days to travel. When Joseph & Mary arrive in Bethlehem, the little town is overwhelmed with people and they discover there’s no room for them.
Now, the image many of us have been given us that of a heartless innkeeper who refused to give this poor couple a place to stay, but there’s no evidence of that. There was simply no room!
However, Joseph and Mary were given a little shelter – a stable (barn or cave), a place to get in out of the weather and a place for Mary to give birth her child.
They had so little that she took pieces of cloth and wrapped around the baby who was named Jesus, for this one whom the angel said “will save his people from their sins.” She laid him in a manger, an animal’s feeding trough filled with animal food, hay, to soften it.
That’s the story of our Savior’s birth. Jesus came into a world that didn’t have room for him.
And, unfortunately, Jesus still hears the same thing in some of our lives today: “No room!”
In Bethlehem, there were good reasons – there simply wasn’t any available space to put them! In our lives, we may also have “good reasons.” But the fact remains, sometimes there’s no room in our hearts/lives for God (the one who created us, the one who loves us more than anyone else can)!
Jesus waits for us to invite him in to our lives, but too many times, our response is, “No room.” There’s no room in my day today. I can’t fit God into my schedule today. There just is no room!
That’s how we respond sometimes when God calls us to pray, to hang out for a little while. Sometimes that’s how we respond when we see someone in need. No room today!
Why is there “no room”?
Our hearts are too full. Our schedules are too full. Our budgets are too full. We are already committed to too many other things. Our priorities have already been established. “No room,” we say.
- Lack of knowledge
- Choice (bottom-line)
Sometimes we give God the leftovers! Just as Joseph and Mary were given a stable to sleep in, we sometimes give God the least important place in our hearts/lives, if we give him any place at all!
Even when Jesus (the Creator) grew up, there were many who did not receive him into their lives, people who simply didn’t have room for this teacher: But although the world was made through him, the world didn’t recognize him when he came. (John 1.10)
Will you make room for God?
Will you give him more than a stable? Will you give Jesus the most important place in your heart/life?
Ever notice how we make room for certain things that are important to us? It’s amazing how we’ll clear our schedule for something, even when we thought we didn’t really have the time for it. When we say we don’t have room for God, we’re really saying that God really isn’t that important to us!
Will you make room in our hearts for Jesus? Maybe you want to invite him into your life for the first time? Maybe you want to recommit your life to him?
Making room …
You will have to make some choices!
Put first things first!
- What are your top priorities?
- Does your calendar reflect your priorities?
Behold I stand at the door and knock. (Rev 3.20)
Make room for God!
- How important is God to you?
- What can you cut out?
- How can you spend time with God every day?
If you’re going to add some things into your life (time with God, serving God, etc.) you will have to cut some things out, right? You can’t just add stuff, you also have to remove stuff! What can you cut out, in order to make room for more important things?
Make room for others!
- Does your heart go out to people in our communities who are in need?
- What can you do to help them?
So, will you make room for God? For others? Or will you say, “No room”?