Making Room for Others
Saturday - December 11th
Scripture to Read Today: Luke 2: 4-7
She gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no guest room available for them.
The Nativity’s poor innkeeper gets a bad reputation this time of year. I played the innkeeper one year for a church play. Not so much because I was bold and decisive as a boy, but because I could say “No” in the kindest and most considerate way.
Stop and think about the situation for a moment. The only reason we know about the innkeeper is that he had compassion for the young couple looking for a place to stay. The people we don’t hear about are all the ones who turned them away and didn’t offer them some space in a stable.
November 7, 2018, our church and local community was shattered with the news of a gunman opening fire at Borderline in Thousand Oaks. The very next night, many of us were told by emergency personnel to evacuate our homes because of wildfires that were closing in. Before the next morning, several families had lost their homes and many in the fire’s path had been relocated three or four times before they could settle at a safe distance from the flames.
What took place broke our hearts. The response of Calvary folks opening their homes and hearts to one another amid those fires reminded me I’m surrounded by some of the most incredible people. The love and outpouring of hospitality in a time of deep trial revealed Jesus not just to one another but also to our local community.
First-century Bethlehem wasn’t shattered by violence and wildfires. But, the overwhelming nature of too many people in too small a town must have caused a lot of anxiety. It’s in times of pressure when you learn the most about people. You learn the depth of character, courage, and strength people have. You get a glimpse at the empathy, care, and love people can have for one another. Sometimes, it’s the hardships of life that help us focus on what’s most important. The adversity brings us closer together and reflects, even if in a small way, Jesus.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome (Romans 5:3-5) that suffering leads to perseverance. Perseverance leads to character. Character leads to hope, and hope is not ashamed because the love of God is poured into our hearts.
Pressure, suffering, and sacrifice have a way of enlarging our hearts to make room for more people. People who, like us, know the reality of being overlooked and shut out in their worst moments of life.
The innkeeper was able to make room in a stressful situation for a young, out-of-town couple in need. We can do the same for those around us today!