In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom. [Luke 2a:1-7]
The prophet Micah had prepared us long ago that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph made it to Bethlehem in time before Jesus was born. The shepherds were right where they were supposed to be, in a field, guarding their sheep, when the angles showed up to share the news. Only one person missed the opportunity of a lifetime. The innkeeper. Now scripture gives us little information about this person, so that does give us license to wonder why that person responded in the way he did. Was there really no room in his home or establishment or was he just saving space for someone with more status or prestige? Had he promised that space to his wife’s cousin, so he pushed the young couple out into the stable? Why didn’t he offer his own bed? Mary was clearly pregnant. The one thing we know is this, he missed an opportunity to help host the Son of God into this world.
Back in the fall of 1775, the manager of Baltimore's largest hotel refused lodging to a man dressed as a farmer. The hotel manager later learned that the man dressed as a farmer was in fact Thomas Jefferson, then Vice President of the United States. So immediately he sent a note inviting the Vice President to come back to the hotel.
The Vice President responded with this, ''Tell him/tell the manger that I have already engaged a room. I value his good intentions highly, but if he has no place for a dirty American farmer, he has none for the Vice President of the United States.''
As we all prepare for Christmas Day, make sure you are leaving room for the Christ child in your heart. Don’t let the busyness or distractions of the festivities rob you of the opportunity to celebrate what is most important. Jesus, Son of God, has broken into this world to redeem us and bring us peace.