Mary and Joseph were weary and ready for a good night’s rest when they arrived at the Inn. A census had been called and by law, they were required to return home. Their journey had been long, the roads were dusty and crowded and the water-skin was dry.
If you can, just picture yourself after a long tiring business trip with your pregnant wife trying to get home and you arrive at the only hotel for possibly hundreds of miles. When you go to register, the Innkeeper tells you, "We have no rooms."
As a man who sought the Lord’s heart, Joseph must have wondered how he would find a comfortable place for his very ready-to-deliver betrothed wife. I'm confident that Joseph began to wonder what they would do and how he would protect Mary, and the child she carried in her womb. His thinking was probably not far from what ours would be today. He didn't have the luxury of jumping in a car, bus or plane because they didn't yet exist; they traveled by foot. If we place ourselves in their shoes, what would we think?
Suddenly, the Innkeeper said something like, "Hey, I have an idea! I hate to see you two kids on the streets at night and it's obvious you need a place to rest, what about the barn?"
Now, I don't know if everyone here has been in a barn before, but I have. And some can really stink. Like today, they can be full of animals, pungent smells and without a bed! What would you be thinking? Would you think, "This guy is crazy if he thinks I am going to have my wife sleep in his nasty, smelly barn? And not only that, our baby might come tonight and I can't imagine my wife laying on hay and an old dirty mule blanket to bring our child into the world."
I can understand that kind of thinking, but this was the only option we are told that Mary and Joseph had and maybe it was divinely orchestrated for a purpose they could not see.
Let's see how we are told in Luke 2 that Mary and Joseph responded to the Innkeeper's compassionate offer.
“and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no guest room available for them.”
Looks like Joseph and Mary rested there that night, accepting the heartfelt offer of the Innkeeper.
Jesus came into the world in that resting place and this little baby, born in a barn became the Savior of the world.
I found two practical lessons in this message.
1. When we act on behalf of another to provide for them when they are in need, we are showing compassion. Like the Innkeeper, we become people of compassion.
The other very important lesson here is this:
2. No matter where you are born and what your means are, there is a plan for your life. Whether you understand it or not, God will divinely intercede to see that plan carried out.
How many times have we had people step into our lives and extend a helping hand only to dismiss it as something of which we are entitled? If we can grasp that God allows circumstances in our lives to show His glory, then we can better embrace every trial and affliction and give Him thanks and praise knowing that He is shaping and forming us "behind the scene" to be all He has created us to be.
This shows the world what only He can do which is glorifying to God. Just as He provided a place for the birth of Jesus, He provides what He knows we need. Sometimes that looks different than what we think it should be. But it is always good for us.
We all have a barn. How is your barn looking now?
Allison M. Miller
Partnering with women to help them discover God’s purpose in their relationships, careers and home life.
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.