“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
Have you ever wondered what would have occurred in Bethlehem if there had been a room for Joseph and Mary at that remote, country Inn? Would the Shepherds have shared their heavenly awe with the occupants at the Inn? Might the heart of the Innkeeper have been softened as he heard the stories of angels appearing to Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, and the Shepherds leading up to the long awaited arrival of the Savior, Jesus? As I envision the Innkeeper brashly turning away Mary and Joseph who were in great need of warmth and lodging, I cannot help but see my own heart in his response, “There is no room for Jesus here” (paraphrase). Sure, I have days where I make plenty of room for Jesus in my heart and through my life. But, what about the remainder of my days? When considering the God-filled lives of John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna, I see such a lack in my life when it comes to making room for Jesus. So, what can we glean from John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna as far as what “Making Room for Jesus” looks like in the plain, ordinary days of life as we wait for His return?
Each of these servants of God had similarities which exemplify what “Making Room for Jesus” can look like. Let’s take a look at the actions of these three people as a group. First, each of these people were “Preparers” of the Lord’s coming. It seems that they each had a deep understanding of the fact that they could scarcely prepare others for His coming without first having prepared themselves. In fact, when you compare the amount of time they spent in preparing themselves compared to the time they spent in public ministry, the scale is hardly balanced! Next, each received God’s heart for both themselves and for others as they spent time alone with God. Finally, they prepared other hearts for His coming through preaching, praying, and prophesying/speaking. It goes without saying that we are each created quite uniquely by God. As such, the practical ways our lives “Make Room for Jesus” may look entirely different from John, Simeon, and Anna. One thing is for certain though, we cannot make room for Him in the “Inn” of our lives without first unlocking the door to our “Inn,” which is our hearts. And, this is not a one-time event. The many ways we invest our time speaks volumes about what our hearts truly treasure. Clearly, John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna treasured the coming of the Messiah as evidenced in the time they spent alone with Him. As we examine the ways we invest our time, is it obvious that we really treasure Him?
What do you invest your time in preparation of? Sadly, I often spend my days tasking beyond what is necessary and for what end? Recently, I have been examining my daily activities from an eternal perspective. Unfortunately, more often than I care to admit, very little of my activities will yield a heavenly return. I am not suggesting that we get into a “Works” mentality where we run ourselves ragged for God. Rather, I am suggesting that we ask the Holy Spirit to show us what activities can be rearranged or removed from our lives so that we have time to invest in making room for Him. John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna each were prepared to be “Preparers” of His coming as they shut themselves in with God. John spent years in the desert being prepared to “Prepare” the way for the coming of Jesus. Simeon waited daily at the Temple for the fulfillment of what the Holy Spirit had revealed to him, “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26). Anna, “A widow of eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day” was prepared to speak of Jesus to many in Jerusalem (Luke 2:37). Oh, I see so clearly from reading about these three “Preparers,” that God longs for each of us to let Him prepare us to be His “Preparers,” too. What is the Holy Spirit whispering to your heart regarding changes you can make in your life that will allow you the time to be prepared to be a “Preparer” of Jesus in this day and hour?
The wonderful truth is that God does not really “Need” any of us to prepare His way. Throughout the Bible and throughout history, He has given people the opportunity to partner with Him to prepare His way. Consider what could happen in and through your life as you seek to prepare yourself for His coming? Who might God prepare for Christ’s return through your life because you took the time to be prepared yourself? It’s so easy to look back on the Innkeeper’s quick reaction in turning away Mary and Joseph and think of what could have been. Would you consider asking the Lord to turn your thoughts to what can be through your life as you prepare yourself to prepare His way? May your heart and joy be refreshed this Christmas season and in the coming days as you seek to let Him make room in your heart for His very real, strong, and life-giving presence. And, as a result, may you speak the words that are like apples of gold in settings of silver to those He has prepared in advance for you to prepare His way for. Merry and blessed Christmas to you!
“And you, child will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins.”