Journey to the Manger: Innkeeper

The kids created comfy beds in the living room to think about what it would be like to trade comfort to serve Christ.

The kids created comfy beds in the living room to think about what it would be like to trade our comfort to serve Christ.

The innkeeper told us there was no room at the inn today on our Journey to the Manger.

When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, they could not find a place to stay. Then Mary went into labor, and Joseph did what he had to do by delivering the Son of God in a stable.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

– Luke 2:7

Innkeeper

Innkeeper

Though we don’t know if an innkeeper turned Joseph and Mary away, Scripture tells us there wasn’t room. That means someone wasn’t willing to give up their sleeping space so a very pregnant woman could find comfort for the night. No one intervened when Mary went into labor to let her in so her child could enter the world in a more sanitary space. Joseph and Mary ended up in a dirty barn and placed their newborn son in a trough where the animals ate.

Why didn’t someone speak up? Where was the compassion that night, as a girl on the verge of having a baby was turned away?

Our hearts are much like that inn. We fill it with relationships, busy schedules, activities and agendas, until there is no room left for the Savior. We place our comfort, our desires and our priorities ahead of submitting to and serving the God who gave us life.

This Christmas, let’s evaluate the real estate of our heart. What fills our attention, captures our emotions, and takes priority in our life? God wants our whole heart, not just the corners or the space left over.

We may talk a good Christian game, but our actions show our heart. What conveniences and comforts are we willing to set aside to pursue Christ?

Make room for Jesus.

 

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.

Thankful: God is the sower

Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, this occurred: Some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it sprang up right away, since it didn’t have deep soil. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it didn’t have a root, it withered. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce a crop. Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop that increased 30, 60, and 100 times what was sown.

– Mark 4:3-8

Today, I am thankful that God is the sower, and sows His Word on every soil.

Seed is valuable. It contains the ability to produce new life. Because most farmers want to produce a top-notch harvest, they will concentrate sowing the seed in good soil, so that it has the best chance to grow healthy and strong crops.

In this parable, recorded in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8, the seed is sowed in many different types of soil. Some falls on the hard road, easily picked up by birds. Other seed falls on rocky ground, where some of the shoots don’t have much roots to grow and the sun damages the plants. Some seed falls among thorns that choke out the growth. And finally, the seed lands in good soil and the harvest multiplies.

Why would the sower even waste his time sowing in unproductive ground?

God is the sower, and we as His children are called to follow in His footsteps and sow His Word over hearts. Some hearts are hard, some are rocky, some are full of thorns, and some are tender and ready to receive. God deeply loves each heart, each person, and sends His Word out regardless of the soil.

God isn’t wasteful, and His love isn’t pointless. He sows so that everyone has the opportunity to respond to His grace. His death on the cross was for every person. His message of hope and salvation is for all the world. And so He sends His Word to each soil, so everyone can know Him.

Soil can change, ground plowed up, rocks removed and thorns cut down. The seed still remains. God’s love endures.

God cares about each heart, and so should we. Our job isn’t to judge the soil, it is to spread the seed.