“And she gave birth to her first-born son;
and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.”
It may seem like a strange question coming from someone who considers the New Testament to be historically accurate. But even so I would like to ask, “Was there really no room for Joseph and Mary to bring Jesus into this world except in a manger?” While I would never argue with the truthfulness of scripture, I would like to suggest there is more to this story than meets the eye. I believe that there are two reasons Jesus was born in a manger rather than in the Inn. The first is the reason that looks and sounds good. The second is the real reason.
I believe Luke gives us the reason that looks and sounds good. I’m not implying that Luke’s information was inaccurate. Even secular history shows that Luke was absolutely correct in recording the census ordered by Augustus which compelled Joseph to make the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem; which was well over 100 miles to the south. With Mary in her condition it makes sense that they would be among the last travelers to make their destination. Considering these facts I would never dispute Luke’s statement that there was no room for them in the Inn. I imagine with so many travelers that the “No Vacancy” sign had been lit up days ago. But again as truthful as it is, I think this is the reason that looks and sounds good. The real reason Jesus was born in the manger is another story.
Before I suggest what I think that real reason is, could I get you to imagine a different set of events occurring that night? Consider the innkeeper; trying hard to meet the needs of a full house. He is busy. He is profiting. He is happy. Let’s suppose on that night, that instead of Joseph and Mary knocking on the door seeking a place to stay, it was somebody else. What if, when the innkeeper answered the door, he saw a Roman soldier, but not just any soldier; this one he could tell was a member of the elite Praetorian Guard whose duty it was to protect Caesar himself. Looking over his shoulder, he could see a large number of the guard surrounding the most elaborate chariot he had ever seen. The guard has a simple, straightforward request, “Caesar Augustus needs a place to stay for the night.” Now could you imagine in your wildest dreams the innkeeper turning to that guard and saying,”I’m sorry but we have no more room here. Caesar can sleep in the barn out back if he wants.” You know as well as I that the innkeeper would have made room for Caesar. He would have given Caesar his own room and later put up a plaque reading, “Caesar Slept Here” and charge double for that room from then on. So what’s the difference? The difference is that the innkeeper knew who Caesar was, but he didn’t have any idea that the child Mary was carrying was the Son of God. It is that difference that identifies the real reason Jesus was born in a manger rather than inside where it would be warm and comfortable.
So let me ask you. Is there room for Jesus in your life? Now, it may be true that your life is full to overflowing with things; work, family, school, bills, hobbies, chores, etc. Our hectic schedules have a way of crowding Jesus out of our lives. But if that is why Jesus is not a part of your life; that your life is too busy, I would suggest it’s only the reason that looks and sounds good.
The real reason Jesus is not a part of our lives has to be that we just don’t know Him. Because if we really knew Him. Knew that He is the Son of God, creator of the universe, Savior of us all, if we really knew Him and His love for us; we would make room for Him in our lives. Wouldn’t we? You know we would. Get to know Jesus. It will be worth it.
Father, I am so sorry for filling my life with so much that you are crowded out. Thank you for your continuing love, even when I don’t acknowledge it. Help me to make room in my heart for your Son. I want to live for Him this coming year in the fullness of knowing Him as my Lord and Savior. Amen.