Making Room for Christ: A Christmas Memory
Seven-year-old Bobby came running into the house yelling, “Mommy I’m gonna be an actor.” Gasping for breath, he went on, “My teacher wants me to be the inn- keeper.” Seeing Bobby’s excitement, his mother said, “How wonderful! I’m happy to hear my little Bobby is going to be an actor.”
“What’s the play?” his mother asked. “It’s about Jesus being born at Christmas,” he hurriedly added. “I’m gonna be the inn keeper,” he said again. “Do you have any words to say as the inn keeper?” “It’s easy mommy, really easy,” he responded sitting at the kitchen table. “I just tell Mary and Joseph when they come, there’s no room at this inn for you.” Pausing for a minute, he said, “and then they go away.”
During the following weeks, Bobby practiced his lines everyday. “There’s no room here for you,” he said repeatedly. Bobby was anxious that he might forget them or forget where he was to stand on stage. He wanted to get everything exactly right. After all, this was his debut as an actor and everybody would be watching him.
The big day arrived. It was a week before Christmas day. The Christmas trees were all lighted at school and around town. Christmas carols were heard everywhere. Bobby’s parents, and the other student’s parents, relatives, and friends, and all the students from the grade school were in the auditorium waiting for the curtain.
The curtain went up and the show began. Everything was going smoothly. Mary and Joseph were searching frantically looking for a place to stay. No place was found for them. Bobby’s big moment was approaching. He watched Mary and Joseph as they struggled walking across the stage toward his inn. They looked tired. Joseph was holding onto Mary as they walked toward Bobby.
With an exhausted look on her face, Mary looked deeply into Bobby’s eyes as Joseph asked, “Is there any room at your inn for us? My wife, Mary, is about to have our first child. We are excited, but Mary is so tired she can barely stand.” Bobby kept staring at Mary. And then, taking a deep breath, Bobby said, “No, we haven’t room for you or anybody else here tonight.” Saddened, Joseph turned away. Putting his arm around Mary’s shoulders, they walked slowly away.
Bobby, swept up in the story, started to whimper, then cry. Running after Mary and Joseph, he startled the audience by yelling, “Yes! There’s room for you. Please come back. Stay with me.” Running up to Joseph and Mary, Bobby hugged them. Spontaneously the audience stood up and applauded. It was not the ending everyone expected, but it certainly was one all seemed to want.
What Bobby did is exactly what God the Father hoped for when he sent his Son to be born on that first Christmas morn. He wanted his Son to be an inviting presence. He wanted Him to be accepted, embraced, and loved exactly the way Bobby loved when he heard the reality of his words. When face to face with God’s love, everyone loves back.
Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection enabled God to write a different sort of ending for our lives as Bobby did. Through the birth of Jesus, God removed forever his banishment of Adam and Eve and their descendants from their garden home and offered an invitation to return home. As Bobby changed the language that night, so did God. Jesus, his Son, “dwells among us” following a new script.
Jesus is the Messiah who reconciles his Father’s disobedient creation and it is this wonderful change that is at the heart of the Christmas story. “And the word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
In this New Year let us make room for Christ be the one resolution we keep!