By James H. Snowden
here was no room for them in the inn.” And so Jesus came into a world where there was no room for him in the habitations of men. After all this preparation through which the centuries grew into readiness for his coming, after all these types and prophecies, sacrifices and symbols, after all this weary waiting and passionate hope and all these golden dreams, when the promised One came there was no room for him and he was not wanted! “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Was there ever a greater and sadder anticlimax and a more cruel disappointment? Let us admit that there may have been no fault in this matter, no lack of hospitality in the keeper or the guests of the inn, as the village was overcrowded, and the fact that these late arrivals were compelled to put up with a place out in the enclosure, possibly a cave, where the animals were kept, was no intended incivility or uncommon hardship. Nevertheless, whatever may have been the reason, the fact was that there was no room for Jesus in that inn the first night he spent in this world, and this fact was sadly prophetic of his reception in the world he came to save.
There were few places where he did find welcome: generally there was no room for him even in places where he had the most reason and right to expect it. And if it was no lack of hospitality that kept him out of this inn, it certainly was the lack of this grace and the positive presence of hostility that in after life excluded him from many places where he wanted to be.
Jesus was not wanted in his own country: Herod tried to leave no room for him there. He was not wanted in his own town: his neighbors tried to hurl him down a cliff to his death. He was not wanted in his own church: its ministers and doctors of divinity fell upon him in malignant fury and at last crucified him. Even his own family found it hard to make room for him in their inner circle. Small room was there in this evil world for this pure and lowly spirit. Then why did he come to it? Because he so loved it that he gave himself for it. Small room do we still leave for Jesus as we crowd him out of our hearts and lives and out of our social order and civilization with our selfishness and sin. Is it a discouraging fact that there is so little room for Christ in the world? Then let us note the fact that there is more room for him to-day than ever before, and this room is ever widening.
How much that inn missed by not having room for this mother and her babe! Its finest apartment lost a glory that fell upon the manger out of which the cattle were fed. How much shall we miss if we do not have room for Christ? There is one world where there is room for Jesus and where he is wanted: heaven. And all who are like him shall find room with him in its many mansions.
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