Crowded Inn, Crowded Hearts

It's easy to let other things interfere with the One we need most.

by Bob Hostetler

Pity the poor innkeeper.

This character involved in the birth of Christ has received a lot of bad press in the past two thousand years. He’s not given so much as a walk-on part, not even a cameo appearance in the Bible story of the nativity. His name was not even recorded by Luke the historian, which may be just as well. If the innkeeper’s name were known, it would probably be paired with Ebenezer Scrooge year after year.

But was Jesus born in a stable because the innkeeper was unsympathetic to the pregnant Mary and the road-weary Joseph? The story does not say. Luke records only that “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7, NIV).

Perhaps we should give the innkeeper a break. He probably did the best he could under the circumstances. The King who was to be born that night was simply crowded out by other guests, other concerns, and other demands that came first.

No vacancy

And so it is today.

We exclude Jesus from our lives not because we’re unsympathetic to His claims. He is crowded out of our daily routines not because we don’t believe in Him. He is missing from our calendars not because we think we don’t need Him. No, it is as simple and straightforward a matter with us as it was with the Bethlehem innkeeper: There is no room. But as preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “My Master wants room!”

Unlike the innkeeper, we already know that little baby in Bethlehem was indeed God made flesh: Christ our Lord. And we still hesitate to find room for Him.

Open door

Have you room? Just as He did on the occasion of His birth, your Master wants room.

“But I cannot find room,” you may protest. “I don’t know how I shall make room.”

Never mind. You need only swing the door open, and He will enter. His glorious coming to your heart and life will occupy all your emptiness and purposelessness and flood it with His gracious forgiveness, love, and purpose.

Simply breathe a simple prayer of invitation, asking Him to enter.