December 24, 2017: Christmas Eve

Let us pray: Dear Christ, tonight we stand before Your manger with holy awe.  We cannot imagine how the infinite Lord of glory can be contained in the fleshly confines of a baby.  We cannot imagine that You would want us to see You, stand before You, and hold You in our arms.  And yet, here You are.  Once there was no room for you in an inn.  Tonight we want to change that.  We open our hearts to Your presence so that You will never be lacking for an earthly abode again.  Amen


TEXT:  Luke 2: 7: “And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Dearly Beloved in Christ:

It all sounds like a fairy tale.  But it isn’t.  It’s totally true.  The infant King of Eternal Glory, the Ancient of Days, came to earth, was born to save our souls, and was turned away from the inn in Bethlehem—only the stable was available for His birth.  Could anything be more poignant?  Could no one make room for Mary in their home?  Could none of their relatives be found who would open their door for their kin—since both parents had relatives in that little town?  Did it all happen so quickly, due to their travel, that no one heard of their plight?  Or, was everyone too self-absorbed to put themselves out and take them in?

You know human nature.  You know that whenever a crisis of need comes to our attention the immediate response is: “O, I’m sorry.  But I’m so busy.  Let someone else do it.”   Christ came to earth to put Himself in our shoes.  He came to carry our sins and bear our shortcomings.  As Isaiah said: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”  Yet, no one could be found to bear the burden of providing a room for His birth.  I’m sure the innkeeper thought: “Let somebody else do it.”  I’m sure others thought that, too.  Isn’t it a wonderful, marvelous thing that Christ never thought that when it came to saving us?


“Because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Think about those words and think about yourself.  The Baby Jesus came to save each of you.  He did save each of you.  He redeemed your soul from sin, death, and Satan’s power—not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and his innocent suffering and death.  So, how often you do put up your own version of a “No Vacancy” sign to Him?  “I’m too busy to attend church.  I find His message too confining when it comes my lifestyle—those 10 commandments are tough!  He makes me feel uncomfortable.  All that talk of sin and eventual death is just something I’d rather ignore right now.  His timing is inconvenient.”  And so, like that innkeeper, we wall off the room of our hearts to Him.

But, babies have their own timetable, and so did Jesus.  Mary and Joseph didn’t expect Him to arrive so quickly.  But He did.  Was it all because in His infinite wisdom He wanted us to ponder what “no room in the inn” means to each of us, today?  Considering He is our All-knowing God, I rather think so.  As the Bible says: “All things have been written for our learning” including our text……


Tonight you have come to worship this little King.  The King of your heart.  Tonight you have come to make room for Him—in contrast to His rather inauspicious birth.  That fact is a living blessing for us.  This moment you have feelings of warmth, joy, and are privileged to provide Him a resting place.  Good!  The question is: will your heart remain that way and retain that same cozy glow during this upcoming year?  Will you continue to provide the Baby Jesus a safe haven within you?  Or will you, when it isn’t as convenient, return Him back to the stable?

This night is very special for one new child of God.  Little Rose Marina Durgee was baptized.  She was brought into Christ’s kingdom of grace and eternal love.  Her parents brought her here tonight to receive this blessing.  The Baby Jesus has left His scratchy manger bed to reside in the velvety confines of her heart.  Moments before her baptism she had an “empty” sign on her door.  Now it reads: “Full.”  So does yours and mine.  So, I guess we’ve come full circle since that first Christmas.  For Christ originally was turned away from that human inn and our gracious God turned it into a huge blessing for all of us.  You see, He wasn’t meant to reside in a human building, but in a human heart!  And now, once again, He has a new abode!

No matter our earthly ages, each one of us conceals and protects the King of Glory within our hearts.  We are all living proof that when it comes to God’s Son, a “No Vacancy” sign will not be permitted.  So, cherish His presence within you.  Your purpose in life is now fulfilled.  And what is that purpose?  To provide a loving room for your Savior Who makes our love complete.  Amen