Tag Archives: nativity

Entertaining Unaware

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I don’t think the innkeeper ever gets enough credit at Christmas. Sure, we mention him in passing when reading Luke 2 for our plays, but no one ever really thinks about him. To me, he played a critical role in the birth of our Savior. He provided the setting for every nativity you’ve ever seen. Yet have you ever looked at a nativity and thought of him? I know the scene isn’t about him, but it wouldn’t look like that if it weren’t for him.

We know that Ceasar Augustus had called for a census. It’s not like the censuses we take today where government workers come to your house and ask you questions. Each family had to travel to the hometown of their ancestors. For Joseph, a descendent of David, that was Bethlehem where David grew up. It was an 80 mile trip that he and Mary had to walk or ride by donkey. Mary was obviously in her third trimester, and I’m sure they had to stop pretty often.

By the time the two of them arrived, the town was full. I’m sure they went to his family to try to stay with them. After having no luck with any of his family, they started going to the inns in the city, but quickly found out it was no better. Joseph must have been getting desperate. Mary could have been having contractions and he needed some place for his son to be born. As the sun set, he knew they were out of options. It could be that this particular innkeeper had compassion on them and offered shelter in the stable.

We really don’t know the details, but what we do know is that they ended up in his stable. This particular innkeeper thought differently than all the others in town. With no room in the inn, he offered them the only other place he had. He wasn’t going to turn a weary, pregnant woman away. I’m sure he had no idea that she was carrying his Messiah. I’m sure he didn’t know that his stable would become a hallowed sanctuary that millions would flock to in the future. We simply know that he offered what he had and it was more than enough to be the setting for the birth of the King of Kings.

It makes me wonder how many times I’ve not had time or room for people in my life. How many times have I been like the other innkeepers in Bethlehem? What if some of them were sent to me by God? I believe that God gives us daily opportunities to open up and let others into the inn of our lives, but too often we are too busy and are so full that we turn them away. I believe if we found even just a small space for them, we could change their world. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood – being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without even knowing it (AMP).” The innkeeper entertained the Son of God unaware because he was open to helping others.

Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

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O Holy Night

This by far is my favorite Christmas Carol. So many try to sing it, but so few do it justice. I have put my favorite part of this song in bold. I have also embedded one of my favorite versions of it below.

Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angels voices
Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine, Oh night, Oh night divine.

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever
His power and glory evermore proclaim

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices
Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine, Oh night, Oh night Divine

Merry CHRISTmas!

If you are unable to play the video below, click here.

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Walk With The Wise Men

Matthew 2 tells the story of the wise men coming to visit Jesus after He was born. Over the centuries, we’ve put crowns on these men and called them kings. We’ve also narrowed down the number of them to three. The Bible doesn’t tell us how many there were. It just says, “Men.” The Greek word used for them is magos. It’s interpreted as wise men, teachers, priests, physicians and astrologers. Debates can go on about who they were, how many there were and where they came from, but that’s not what I think we should focus on.

One of the main things I think we should focus on is that they were seeking Him. They traveled a great distance to find the King. They weren’t even afraid to ask for help. They stopped in Jerusalem and asked King Herod where the newborn king was. They kept searching until they found Him. You and I tend to quit seeking Him after we’ve found Him, but I think that our lives should be lived in pursuit of the King. We should search to know Him more each day. We should spend time seeking out who He is and what He says. Our lives will be fuller for it.

The next thing I noticed is that they said in verse 2, “We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him.” They were face to face with the king of the country and told him that they had come to worship another. Their priorities in whom and what they worshipped were in order. Too many times, we let Jesus take a back seat to who or what we are worshipping. We allow sports to dictate whether we go to church or not. We allow other things to occupy our minds when we have designated time to spend with the King of Kings. We treat our worship as a spiritual box than can be checked off as part of a requirement. We would be wise to follow the precedence set by these wise men.

Finally, they brought Him gifts. They opened up their bags and presented Him with what they had. They prepared ahead of time to give Him things that were most precious to them. They didn’t offer Him something that had no value or that only cost them a little. They were all in so they went all out with their gifts. You and could learn a lot from their sacrifice. God isn’t interested in our leftovers. He has always wanted our best and our first fruits. The gifts we bring to Him should have value and be meaningful to us. These gifts don’t just have to be monetary. They can be our talents and abilities.

I’ve always been intrigued by the wise men who visited Jesus. God chose not only the poor of this world to celebrate the arrival of His son, but He also chose men of stature to share in it. These wise men had their priorities right so God chose them to share in this history changing moment. I wonder what moments in life that God wants to include you and I in if only we would get our priorities right and be willing to offer Him our best. The great news is that is a decision you and I can make today. If you want to be wise, walk in the steps of the wise.

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