Advent Scripture Calendar

26) Come to stay with us forever

Rev Henk Poot - 23 December 2021
Thursday 23 December  

Luke 2:1-7

‘Because there was no room for them in the inn’
Luke 2:7

Just imagine being that innkeeper. For centuries to come, Christians will remember that you kept the door shut for Joseph and Mary, which meant that Jesus had to be born in an old stable among the sheep. By the way, you might wonder why Luke mentions this incident, almost casually, with half a sentence: There was no room for them at the inn.

Because it is not an incident. Occasionally, I also spend the night in an inn, or rather a hotel. Many people have at some point stayed in a hotel. On holiday, as a tourist or just passing through. Of course, it sounds great, especially if it is a nice hotel, but it cannot be compared to staying at home. Even if you did book a beautiful room, you still check out at a certain point. You don’t stay there. And I believe that this is why it is mentioned in the Gospel of the Nativity.

In the background we see the prophecy of Jeremiah. The prophet begs God not to forsake His people. We know our sins, he says. We know that we know of our wrongdoings. But surely, we are called by Your name; surely You are in our midst. You are not a stranger in the land, a traveler who stays only a night. You are not someone –as the Greek translation says- who stays at an inn. (Jeremiah 14:7-9).

This is the meaning of the closed door of the inn. Jesus was not supposed to be born there. He did not come to leave again, He is not passing through. He is Immanuel, ‘God with us’. For ever and ever. In the first place for God’s chosen people, but also for us. He remains with us forever, no matter what. That’s why the Saviour of the world was not born in a mansion, but among sheep and with shepherds. He is more at home there than in a room for the night.

Lord God, we thank You that at Christmas we do not celebrate something that is already past, something that happened a long time ago. We give thanks that Your Son is still with us.

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