Away In A Manger (Room In The Stable)

Christmas Myths   Luke 2:4-7
If you have been around here long enough you will have heard me talk about the many myths of the “Christian Christmas”. There is of course first of all the wrong date. Biblically speaking, Jesus was born in August or September and not chilly December. Mary was a 14 or 15 year old girl when she delivered and not a woman, she did not remain a virgin after Jesus was born (Matthew 1:24-25, Mark 6:3), and there were no kings at the stable, they came later to “the house” (Matthew 2:11). Since I want my congregation to be biblically factual and not traditionally fanatical, here is yet another Christmas myth:
Reading the old King James Version has confused the story of the inn a bit and the church has confounded it entirely. The original Greek of Luke’s text actually says, “she wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a “manger” (literal: corn crib), as there was no room in the “guest room”. That’s right, Luke does not say there was no room in the inn. Luke has a different Greek word for inn (pandeion), which he uses in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:34-35). The word he uses here (kataluma) is the very word he uses to describe the room in which Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples (Luke 22:11) — the guest room of a house.

It is likely that Mary and Joseph stayed with relatives or friends of the family. Archaeology does not show evidence that there was an inn in Bethlehem but it does support the fact that the houses had caves behind them where they kept their prized animals. The guest room was in the front of the house, the animal shelter in the back, and Joseph and Mary had come too late to get the guest room, so the relatives or family friends did the best they could do by putting them in the back of the house. More than a story about a mean old Inn Keeper that had no room for Jesus, it is a story about a kind house guest that made accommodations for the late arriving guests and likely attended them in the quietest place in the house. After all, the babe was wrapped in cloths (Luke 2:7). Someone had to have given them to the couple.

Accommodations?  Revelation 3:19-20, Matthew 28:18-20, John 14:23-27
Now that we have the facts right, what lesson can we learn from this story? Yes, It is still about you and I making room for Jesus in our home (life). The fact is that Jesus was not turned away. His birth was accommodated at their house even though it was full and very busy. It is even likely that Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus came into that very same home and stayed for awhile. It is most likely the “house” that the Magi came to see Jesus at (Matthew 2:10) on a later date.

Do you accommodate Jesus in your busy life? He wants you to make room. When you allow Jesus entrance into your life He comes to change things (Revelation 3:19-20). He comes in love but He comes to reprove and discipline. He wants us to repent of sin and then He wants us to assist Him in His work and mission on this earth (Matthew 28:18-20). If we love Jesus we will obey His teaching as God moves into our life (John 14:23-27). If you make room for Jesus in your life then He promises to send His Holy Spirit who will teach you all things and remind you of all that He has said. He will give you peace that the world is not able to provide.

Do you want peace in this uncertain world? Then make room for Jesus.

Flip Side   Romans 14:11-12
Now that I’ve bailed the “inn keeper” (Guest room keeper) out and given the story a positive twist, let me flip it back again! Did he give Jesus the best room in his house?  Yes, the man did accommodate Jesus, but truth be told, if he really knew that the King of the universe had knocked on his door wouldn’t he have cleared that guest room?

How about you…what kind of room do you give Jesus in your life. Does He get your best or your sloppy seconds. Do you house Him in the forefront of your life or do you keep Him in the backyard? Does He have your living room or do you keep Him in the closet? Is He your honored guest or have you invited Him to live in your home and to take every liberty that He desires in your life?

The one who once was born in a backyard and laid away in a manger will one day descend from the clouds for every eye to see (Revelation 1:7-8). The one who has gently asked every human to open the door of their hearts to Him will one day blast open the locked doors with His brilliant light. Every knee will bow, every tongue will acknowledge God, and everyone will give an account of their actions before Him.

Do you want to open the door of your life to Jesus, or do you want the locks blown off of your door one day?
Make room for Jesus…In fact give Him the whole house! Amen

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