Devotional 5th December 2019
‘The time came for the baby to be born and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.’ Luke 2:6 -8
It’s the start of Advent and the Lord brought this phrase from Luke’s story to my attention: ‘there was no room for them at the inn.’ I felt He was saying to me, ‘do you have any more room in your heart for me than that inn did?’
I felt shocked as I’d always thought about that part of the Christmas story in a rather judgemental way, how terrible that Jesus the king of kings and the One who came into this world to show us the amazing love of God, had to be born in a stable because of there being no room in the inn.
Do you ever find that it's easy to judge while being blind to the state of our own hearts?
God was challenging me to check out my own heart - how much room am I making for Him? An inn should be a place of refreshment, safety and rest; a place of encounter with others and fellowship…
Does the Lord feel welcome and at rest in my heart? Is He able to have an encounter with me every day? Do I listen to Him and make time to find out what brings Him joy? I feel this is a really important question for us all in this time of Advent. I get so busy in the lead up to Christmas that time to just be with the Lord, praying and listening to His voice all goes out the window. There are cards to write, presents to buy and wrap, people to see, plans to make, plus of course the regular things that make up my life and work …
Why wasn’t there room at the inn? It was because of the census - a political, cultural situation. There was a natural reason for the lack of space and similarly there can be all sorts of natural, cultural reasons why the Lord can get squashed out of our lives. Even writing cards and buying gifts are cultural traditions not biblical mandates! It’s lovely to bless those around us with a card or gift but maybe those very actions can be channels for us to open our hearts to the Lord’s presence with us? For example, when we are looking for that perfect gift for our loved one can our thoughts turn to all the amazing gifts we receive from God every day? The gift of His unconditional love and forgiveness, the gift of salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit and all the many personal gifts He brings us….If we make room to acknowledge Him like that in the midst of our shopping we could find our hearts lifted up in worship in the middle of the shopping centre! Similarly when writing our cards, do we ever think of the amazing words of love He constantly seeks to write on our hearts? Or when we put up Christmas decorations can we make time to thank Him for ‘bestowing beauty on us instead of ashes’ (Isaiah 61) or as the ‘light of the world’ filling our lives with a more amazing light than we could ever put on our Christmas trees…..?
There was no room for Him at the inn, but there was room in His heart for you and me and there always is.
I want to choose this Advent to make room in my heart for Him too. I want Him to feel welcome, to be at home, to know He can speak to me and I will listen; to know that in all the busyness, He is the one I am ready to stop for.
Come Lord Jesus and take your place.