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 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
Points to Ponder:
Picking up where we left off yesterday, I would like to suggest to you on this Christmas Eve that, as Jesus Christ gifts us with His holiness, His followers have an exciting opportunity to gift Him by striving to be holy.
This thought struck me as I realized that on this day in most cases of American culture there’s a lot of scurrying afoot. Presents are wrapped. Turkeys are baking. The china place-setting is being carefully arranged, flanked by crystal, silver and linen to create the most beautifully-arranged table ever, and soon each chair will hold a treasured guest or family member.
We’re giving so much to others this season: our money; our time; our culinary, decorating and gift-wrapping skills. Amid this wonderful scurry – which, handled correctly is an absolutely acceptable means of sharing the joy of the season – have we thought about what we would like to give Jesus on this Birthday of all birthdays? 
The question brings to my mind the plight of the innkeeper who makes a cameo appearance of sorts in today’s passage of Scripture. Although an innkeeper is not specifically mentioned in Luke 2:7, the inn is directly referenced so there is logistically an inference of an innkeeper who gave Joseph the message that there was no available room. Considering this text in its original Greek language adds a bit of sadness to the situation of Joseph, Mary and the soon-to-be-delivered Christ Child. Rather than inn being synonymous with our concept of a motel or hotel, its Greek rendering – katalyma represents something more akin to a guesthouse or guest room in the home of a distant relative. It is entirely possible, therefore, that the couple was turned away not by a stranger, but by someone Joseph knew or to whom he was possibly related.
The fact that there was no room for Christ’s birth at the inn seems to be a foreshadowing of what would transpire over the course of His earthly ministry. He was rejected at His birth (Luke 2:7); He was rejected by His people (Matthew 13:54-56), He was rejected at His death (see Matthew 27:16-26) . Yet silently, as Mary’s Lamb – the Lamb of God – He came to earth for the purpose of giving His life in order to give mankind life. To give you life. To give me life.
To be fair, the innkeeper – whomever he may have been – likely found himself torn between compassion for Mary, Joseph and the coming Baby and the obligation he felt toward the guests who already filled the inn. I see a distinct similarity between this scenario and ours today. Especially at Christmastime, we as spiritual innkeepers can feel equally torn when endless to-do lists, gatherings with family and friends and shopping leave us to lament over the precious little time we have to genuinely welcome the true Meaning of Christmas.
But I also see a difference between the scenarios. While Scripture gives no indication that Bethlehem’s innkeeper was aware before the Incarnation that Mary’s baby was Messiah, we do know. We know that He was; we know that He is; and we know that when He comes again it will be for the everlasting deliverance of His followers (Revelation 3:11-12).
We also know that we are related to Him in so much more than a distant kinship; we know, in fact, that when He returns we will be co-heirs with Him in His Kingdom forever (Romans 8:17). Knowing these things – what He gave, gives and will give – should serve as ample inspiration driving us not only to desire to give Him a gift to show our gratitude, but to make a deliberate decision to take time to give this gift.
Notice the words to show our gratitude in the previous sentence. Let me make it crystal clear that salvation is through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). We can bring Him the finest gold, frankincense and myrrh we can find, but without our faith in Him as Savior they aren’t worth one red cent.
That said, one of the best gifts we can offer this Christ in Whom we’ve placed our faith is a gift that actually gives back to us in direct proportion to our investment. As spiritual innkeepers with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can keep our inns – our lives – clean through obedience to the Word of God. What better way to honor the One who Honored us in holiness with His life, death and resurrection than to live lifestyles that cast the same reflection of Christ that we discussed at the beginning of this series outward and onto a culture of unbalanced priorities or unbelief.
This Christmas, why not take the time to give Christ the gift of living holy and wholly for Him as you let…
Obedience to Him
…into 2017?
– Copyright 2016, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All Rights Reserved.
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Focus for Reflection:
What does Christ’s giving of Himself as Mary’s Lamb mean to you on a personal level?
What gifts do you desire to give to Christ as you wait expectantly for His second coming? In what ways might you give those gifts?
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