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Making Room at the Inn

Saturday, December 24, 2011

by Dr. Paul Chappell

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."

1 Corinthians 1:18-24

Many people will shut out the "religious" aspect of Christmas, yet they miss the reason we celebrate.

As Mary and Joseph followed God's leading in their lives, they obeyed Caesar's decree that the world should be taxed, sending them to the town of Bethlehem during the final stages of Mary's pregnancy. The trip was rough, the journey arduous, and I'm sure Mary experienced much discomfort during this time. As they reached Bethlehem, I'm sure they breathed a sigh of relief, thinking their long journey was over, but there were still hurdles to face.

Joseph and Mary had travelled over tough terrain to reach Bethlehem, yet because of the census the town was overpopulated at the time. Many people had travelled to be taxed and many lodging places were full. Joseph and Mary went from inn to inn searching for a place to rest but found none. I'm sure they were weary, tired, and dirty. I'm sure that Mary wanted nothing more than to be off the donkey and in a bed. Perhaps she was even experiencing contractions at this point as well. Either way, no inn gave them a place to stay and they were forced to lodge in a stable with the animals.

Many times we focus on Mary and Joseph's tough time looking for lodging, but consider the side of the innkeepers. They were full with customers and could not even find room for a very pregnant woman. You almost wonder if another man could have given up his bed for Mary, but the fact is no one gave Mary and Joseph a place to rest.

By not making room for the couple, the innkeepers missed out on God's greatest blessing to the world. These were people who many of them had been waiting their whole lives to see the Messiah yet here He was before them and they missed the miracle.

Don't be so busy this holiday season that you miss God's greatest blessing. The innkeepers were too focused on their business to witness Jesus' birth. The travelers only wanted their own comfort rather than helping a couple in need.

Many people will shut out the "religious" aspect of Christmas, yet they miss that the reason we celebrate is because of Christ's birth. The greatest miracle the world has ever known took place thousands of years ago during this season. Take some time today to read the Christmas story. Focus on God's plan for you this holiday season. And as you read of the innkeepers who told Mary and Joseph to move along, ask God to help you not miss His plan for you during this time of year.

To learn more about the ministries of Lancaster Baptist Church and Pastor Chappell, please visit lancasterbaptist.org, paulchappell.com, or follow him on twitter.

Daily Bible Reading
Habakkuk | Revelations 15