While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 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.

Luke 2:6-7

 

My dad tells a story about when he was in the military, more than fifty years ago. One year, when stationed in California, he made the cross-country drive to his home in Virginia, so that he could be home for Christmas. My dad drove across the southern part of our country. If you’ve ever made that same cross-country drive, you know it’s quite a long haul.

A simple manger constructed of wood with torn cloth.My dad made the drive by himself and there was, literally, no guest room available to him. No hotels, no motels, no B&Bs, no inns, no boarding houses, no hostels. All of those establishments catered only to white people. My dad did not qualify.

Late in the night, somewhere in Texas, my dad pulled over on the side of the road to get a bit of shut eye before continuing on. In the midst of his sleep, my dad heard a knock on the driver’s side window. Focusing his eyes in the darkness and trying to clear out the cobwebs from his sleepy head, my dad was able to see a police officer on the other side of the glass.

“You best move on,” the officer told my dad. There was no reason to say it twice. My dad started the engine, put the vehicle in drive, and continued his trip home.

Whenever I read about the circumstances surrounding Jesus’s birth, I think about this story my dad has told me. The Bible doesn’t give us details about why Jesus wasn’t born in a comfortable room with soft candlelight and clean sheets. All we are told is, “there was no room for them in the inn,” (Luke 2:7, KJV).  And yet, while it may seem strange, knowing Jesus came into the world in such a humble way gives me the calm assurance he was with my dad on the side of that Texas road, keeping my dad safe, and making sure he made it home.

I hope you find encouragement, too, in the humble birth of our Savior. When the rules always seem to go in someone else’s favor, when you feel pushed to the margins, when you can’t seem to find your way and people keep telling you, “You best move on,” I pray you hear the soft cries of the holy infant and remember he has gone to prepare a place for you (John 14:3), and there is always room.

QUESTION TO CONSIDER:

In what ways has humility been a gift in your life?

PRAYER:

Jesus, thank you for making space for me. Amen.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentaryWork and Relationships (John 14-17)