And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
Finding commonality with some of history’s most important characters in the Christmas story feels presumptive. But one character has become the source of intrigue for me: the innkeeper. Not specifically mentioned, his role is merely implied by there having been no room in the inn. Could he not have made some arrangement for an expectant mother or was his offer of the stable uniquely compassionate for their culture? We will never know the innkeeper’s perspective, but give thanks that Jesus’ humble birth did not define him. Though there was no place for him at his birth, in his death he has ascended to heaven to prepare a place for us.
I find a strong correlation between the innkeeper’s challenge and my life. Three active children, a busy career, and community commitments not only leave little time for hobbies, but also crowd out time for faith. If my calendar were the inn of Bethlehem, Christ’s relegation to the manager continues too many days of my life.
But I take great hope from Christ’s ascension from refusal to adoration. When travel trumps church or work interrupts Bible study, I can still find time for a few moments’ peace to pause, reflect, and allow Christ a foothold in my day. Though he deserves more, hopefully even his most meager presence will sustain faith sufficient to share love, foster hope, and justify grace long enough for our Lord to ascend to his proper priority in my life.
This Advent season, I pray that we all as a congregation will allow the joy of celebrating his birth to rejuvenate our faith so that it may be sustained throughout the coming year. May we discover the will to continuously prepare a place in the inn of our lives for Christ and all who need to be sheltered by his love.
About the Contributor
Bert Barre is a life-long member of First Presbyterian Church. He serves as an Elder and chair of the Stewardship Committee. He and his wife Katherine have three children: Sallie (13), Martha (11), and Dixon (8). Bert is a principal of Colonial Trust Company.