The old Christmas carol is still one of my favorites…
“Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown
when thou camest to earth for me,
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity:
O come to my heart Lord Jesus; there is room in my heart for thee!”
Why was there no room for the Christ child in Bethlehem that first Christmas eve so long ago? The answer is very simple – because every room was already filled with other guests! Every Inn has only a limited number of rooms. When that number is reached, the Inn is full and cannot accommodate another guest even if He is the Lord of Heaven and Earth! Is it so very different for us today? Our hearts are the Inn at which the Christ seeks entrance, but all too often, we cannot find room for Him because every compartment of our hearts is already full!
Can you name the most frequent guests already in residence there?
In America, their names are: wealth, amusement, pleasure, materialism and personal advancement. For some of us in the church, the guest list is more subtle in its subversity: family time, ministry time, church meeting time, facebook time with other believers, and on it goes.
The common theme is simply this: there is no room for personal time with Jesus. So we do what any guilty inn-keeper would do…we find a small stable somewhere on the premises of our schedules to give to the Lord so that we won’t feel too badly about the fact that some very inferior guest is taking up His rightful suite in the penthouse of our hearts!
The solution to this dilemma is as radical as it is critical…eviction!!
Making room for Jesus can only be achieved by evicting lesser loves.
If you are now cringing at the expectation of a 3-point message complete with 6 examples of guilt-producing scriptures, then, as the angels told the shepherds, “fear not!” I would like to conclude this article with a small, original parable that I hope will impart the message in a more encouraging way. I wrote it to exhort my own soul to make room for Christ because I have the same challenge as most of you do.
I hope the story will remind us all that “making room for Christ” is exactly the kind of Christmas gift that Jesus desires most from all of us!
Moreover, it is “the gift that keeps on giving” because Jesus always beautifies and satisfies every heart that bids Him enter in. I pray a most blessed Christmas for all of my wonderful RR family, and God bless us every one!
The King’s Visit: A Story for Christmas
A poor man heard that a great King was traveling on the road that passed nearby his house. The King was known to be as humble as he was great, and it was reported that he would accept the offer of even the most modest of lodgings if he perceived that the invitation had come from a sincere heart. Wanting to express his love and loyalty for his sovereign liege, the poor man went out and found the King’s caravan and implored him to rest the night at his own lowly abode.
So it was that the King came to stay as a guest in the home of his own poor subject. The peasant man was so glad for his Lord’s presence with him that the following day he entreated his Highness to bring under his roof yet a greater portion of His goods, for he saw that these had been left outside, unprotected in the night. This pleased the King because it had been his intention all along to beautify the home of this loving servant with precious objects of silver and gold as tokens of his gratitude. The wise King also knew that such royal gifts, displayed in the home of a common man, would serve to encourage other common folk to offer their own hospitality to him in the future; for it pleased the King to have his loyal subjects become acquainted with him in this fashion…
Yet, the next morning, only 1 silver goblet had been placed on the edge of the cluttered old dining table in the man’s home, and the rest of the King’s treasures were still found in his camel’s saddlebags. The man repeated his offer once again and, as before, the King was pleased to accept this opportunity to house his royal store within the safety of the house. But the following day, just one small incense dish of gold had found its way onto a corner of the mantle above the fireplace. At this, the poor man was grieved and confused…
“My Lord, have I not invited you these 2 times to make fuller use of my abode? Yet, only these 2 small objects I find within. Do you not desire to grant my request and so to honor my humble home with the safe-guarding of your stores?” The King smiled sadly and replied, “I would have filled all your rooms with my treasures and furnished your home with jeweled gifts, but for one lack… Every room of your house is already stuffed full of all of your own beloved things, and I could find no place to put my own. Though I am your King, and my possessions far surpass your own in beauty and worth, I am still your guest here. It is not for me to remove your own goods, but for you alone.”
The light of understanding filled the poor man’s face, and with the help of his brothers, he spent much time and trouble that day emptying his house of his possessions, even those things of which he was the most attached. Though many of these furnishings were dirty and some even broken, the man had become fond of them for the comfort they had afforded him by their use over many years; and so their removal was not an easy process for him. Indeed, the man would have given up the task many times except for the help and encouragement he got from the King’s own promises, inspiring him to believe that his sacrifices would bring blessings!
The efforts of that day proved exhausting, and the poor man fell into a deep sleep that night before he could witness the King’s best work of all; for in the morning, when the man awoke, he hardly recognized his own home! Where there had been a cupboard filled with cracked pottery plates, there were now chargers of gold! Where old wooden tables and chairs had been, there were now ivory couches with soft cushions covered in silver brocade. The filthy stone hearth, once cluttered with piles of damp green wood, had now been swept clean and filled with glowing hot coals. Everywhere he looked, the man found that gorgeous appointments had replaced the shabby and unreliable ones he had carried out the day before. Even the fragrance of each room was cleaner and more pleasant than it had been. Just as wondrously, each beautiful addition seemed somehow to belong in this house even more than the old one for which it had been exchanged!
Beside himself with joy, and possessed of a lightness of being he had never known possible, the poor man rushed out to find the King and thank him for all of his generosity. On the porch he found a note from his wonderful visitor:
“Dear friend, I have taken all of your old things off to be burned. The new things that you see are yours to enjoy as long as I am welcome to remain in your house as your guest. You have done well, and I am pleased. I will be back before midnight. Look around you again today. Whatever you find yourself stumbling over is another thing you may find it wise to remove.
I have many other priceless pieces I should love to adorn your house with in their place. My fondest regards, and a blessed Christmas to you!
Your Loving King
“If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up,
If thou put away unrighteousness far from thy tents.
And lay thy treasure in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks;
Then the Almighty will be thy treasure, and precious silver unto thee.
For then shalt thou delight thyself in the Almighty,
And shalt lift up thy face unto God.
Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him,
and he will hear thee;
And light shall shine upon thy ways” (Job 22:23-28).
Robert Asher Mandel