No Vacancies

 "And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped Him snugly in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn." Luke 2:6-7

 

There was a time in this country when small, independent motels were in abundance. They usually had large neon signs to attract travelers. At the bottom were two words; vacancy, or no vacancy. One or the other would be lit. For Mary and Joseph, that night in Bethlehem, the inn they stopped at was in "no vacancy" mode. 

 

I know countless sermons and writings have detailed the message that is found in there being "no room at the inn" for Jesus. I don't claim to be mining any new ground here. This is a very familiar story even to the casual reader of His Word, that is, if it is even possible to "casually" read His Word at all. They say familiarity breeds contempt. I don't say that anyone of us has open contempt for His Word, but we certainly can grow to take it for granted since we've heard or read it so many times. In the end, isn't that a form of contempt on some level? In any case, I don't think there can ever be an instance where we have looked into His Words too deeply or often, and there are lessons in this passage that can never cease to deepen truth in all of us.

There is nothing much said of the innkeeper that turned Christ away. Vance Havner says that he may have been very polite, even kind to Mary and Joseph. He may have apologized profusely for being unable to receive them, and their soon to be born son. Yet in the end, he consigned them to the nearby stable. There were no vacancies in his inn. His other "guests" took up all the rooms of his inn. He was preoccupied with them. They were his central concern. Not Mary and Joseph, and certainly not the soon to be born Savior of the human race. How like him are we?

What's the sign upon our hearts when He comes seeking entrance into it? And I don't mean as Savior alone, but as Lord? We are all born into this world hopelessly lost and separated from He who created us. Christ was given to us that we might come back to the Father that was lost to us in Eden. He comes to the door of every heart and when He does, we are faced with a choice; will we receive Him in, or, turn Him away? Will He take up residence, or will we send Him to the stable, and continue to give all our attentions to all the "guests" in our heart we deem more worthy than Him? 

Yet there is more to this all than that. We may well have received Him into our "inn," but there remains that matter of just how much access we are willing to grant Him. You see, our hearts are a very large inn indeed. There are many rooms, and even though we have asked to live there, we still entertain a lot of other guests in its rooms. Rooms that we have no real desire for Him to enter into. The occupants of these rooms fit a wide range. Toxic attitudes, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, unhealed wounds of the past and present. Fear, lust, and all manner of secret sins. Some of the guests are not bad ones at all. We just hold them more important to us than Him. For all these rooms and the guests who live inside, we have placed a "Do Not Disturb" tag on the door knob. The Housecleaner is not wanted. We'd like to keep the room as it is. As far as it concerns those rooms, Christ the King can go once again to the stable.

So that brings us to the last question; where in our lives are we sending Him to the stable? He may have come knocking numerous times, and you may have been kind in your refusal to receive Him, but you've sent Him to the stable regardless. His love compels Him to come again, but our refusals make our ability to hear His knock lessen with each turning away. Do you hear that knock today? Will your life end with Him still in the stable? You may well have received Him as Guest, but that is what you've sought to keep Him as well. He has His own room, He just has no access to all your other rooms. When it comes to those rooms, you're still sending Him to the stable. He has no wish to be our guest. He insists on being Lord. Is He so to you, to me? Or, do we send Him again and again to the stable? Being an innkeeper can be a very tiring and hard life. Wouldn't it be best to turn ownership of our inns/hearts over to Him who created them? A stable is no place for a Savior, a Lord, a King. Immanuel, God with us. For Him, the door must always be open.

Blessings,
Pastor O

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