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There Was No Room

December 2, 2014

Every year I draw nearer to God through the celebration of His Son coming to this earth over 2000 years ago. The older I get, the more I learn, the more I learn, the more there is for me to learn. This summer I began pondering an element of Christmas that hasn’t quite baffled me in times prior. Sure, the whole thing is pretty bizarre–God sends His Son by immaculate conception in a woman’s womb, thereby joining God with human flesh and retaining full deity and full humanity in one. Incredible. But every detail of this story is just mind-bending. And one detail in particular snagged my heart recently and I haven’t been able to shake it since.

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
~Luke 2:7

The whole story of Christ’s coming to save His people is entirely and completely baffling. The God of the universe, setting His sight and His mark on mankind to love relentlessly, chooses to navigate through the expanse of His creation in order to win back His love.

Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden. They eat the fruit, they are stripped of their fig leaves and given animal skins to cover their nakedness. And the first foreshadowing and foretelling sacrifice is made for them. The first blood is shed to cover sin. If the Lamb was slain at the foundation of the world, the Godhead knew–Let Us make man in Our image, and when he falls, We will redeem him.

God knew what they would do. He was not surprised. And thus, for 2000 years this dress rehearsing is taking place to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. To prepare for God’s coming. Feasts, rituals, laws, all to ready God’s people to receive Him when He came to redeem them. And what is His grand entrance, His grand reception into the earth?

God had 2000 years to plan for His own arrival on the scene among mankind. To plan something honorable, something worthy of Him, something fitting for a King. Something dignified and royal and regal. And how is He received? …there was no room. You would think He would have called ahead and made reservations. He is God, after all. You would think He would have sent an angel and said, “Hey, Joseph, God’s Son is about to be born… you are to go into such and such city and the first inn on the corner will have a room prepared for His arrival.”

But no. In all of His planning in two millennia–giving them the Law, giving them feasts, dress rehearsals of His coming, whispers of a Savior returning to rescue the people–Oh whoops… We forgot to make hotel reservations for His birth!!

What!? Why was this not a priority? We are talking about the environment in which He is birthed. How He makes an appearance among the people. Oops… we don’t have room, God. But here, take the empty stall in the barn out back. Can you imagine the stench? Can you imagine having your next baby with oxen and a lamb standing by? No latex gloves, scrubs, or hand sanitizer. No scales to weigh Him. A feeding trough is cleared out, and here we lay the Christ child.

This is just mind-blowing. We, in our sinful flesh, would be ashamed to place our own flawed, newborn baby in a barn, in a MANGER.

And this is God.

Out of everything that God could have controlled, you would think He would have held back the heavens and said, “This is My Beloved Son, roll out the royal carpet and fetch the finest linen garments to receive His heavenly soul straightaway into Kingdom royalty.” No.

From the moment God became literally, physically present on this earth, He was not preoccupied with or glorifying comfort. He stooped so low as to be born in the place where smelly livestock stick their slobbering mouths to feed. From day one He became food for His sheep.

There was no room for Him.

God did not call ahead. He did not make prior arrangements for the most comfortable and sophisticated, socially appealing atmospheric conditions. He subjected His own perfection, wrapped in vulnerable human baby skin, to some of the most disgusting conditions by even human standards.

But more than that, He did not prepare a place for His own Son.

We give the people a bad rap for having not let Mary and Joseph into the inn that night. But we rarely pause to ponder the unthinkable truth that the Father in Heaven did not prepare a place for Him.

When God left the heavenlies and conceived within a human woman the Messiah’s seed, He did not go before Him and prepare a place.

From day one, there was no room for Him here. From day one, the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head. He came upon the story of our lives with no Kingly provision. And what does He do with it? How does heaven respond to it? Read this carefully:

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'” ~Luke 2:8-14

We have read these words so many times every year that we have grown complacent over them. But let me ask you–when was the last time you saw a baby born in a barn and laid in a manger and your first reaction was to give glory to God and to celebrate new life with joyful shouts? And this isn’t even a regular baby.

Our pious religiosity would expect that those angels give the people a good scolding for not taking better care of the One they have been worshiping and serving for Eternity Past up until this point. How dare they not have room for Him!?!

But what we see here is a heavenly host that can’t hardly contain themselves to let just one little guy do the announcing and they burst through Heaven’s doors into what can only be imagined as the most glorifying praise and worship song the earth had yet to receive, giving ALL of the attention to the One who is worthy–Glory to God in the highest!!

It did not seem to in any way detract from the glory in Heaven when He came to this earth. For the very night of His birth, the angelic heavenly host explodes with glory and praise and celebration over His coming. There is not one mournful sigh over the human conditions upon which He enters. It’s not even worth mentioning to them, actually.

There was no room for them in the inn. How could that be? How could He go 2000 years and never plan for this arrival? And therein we see God’s heart from the beginning, that He would show us His purpose–He did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

The Greek word for “room” in Luke 2:7 is topos and it is literally translated as a place, a spot (general in space, but limited by occupancy). Another portion of Scripture that this word appears is in John 14:2–

Jesus says, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you… I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also.”

He is much more preoccupied with preparing a place for you than He was with preparing a place for Himself.

God did not deem 2000 years of time worthy of preparing the arrangements of His arrival, His comforts, and His dwellings for His 33 physical years here. Yet, these past 2000 years we know exactly what He’s been doing, because He told us before He ever left– He has gone to prepare a place for us! A place in our Father’s house with many, many rooms.

He is anticipating your arrival! He is planning a return to receive us!

The God who spent no time preparing a place for His only begotten Son has spent all His time preparing a place for you.

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2 Comments

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    Reply Deborah Rogers December 2, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Excellent and moving thoughts Christie! Loved the layers of meaning in the phrase”from the beginning he became food for his sheep”!! Loved it.

    • Christie
      Reply Christie December 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks so much, Aunt Debbie! The layers of meaning are so deep and so rich. I’m so glad it spoke to you as it has me.

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