Save Time and Preach Like Never Before. Try the new
precedent over incidentals – we simply had to decide what the incidentals were.

If touching a neighbor becomes a priority you will begin to see where the incidentals are. It won’t be a burden – it will become a blessing.

The fourth excuse for doing nothing comes from the setting of our verses this morning: they probably didn’t reach out because they assumed what they had too offer wasn’t good enough: too shabby, too small, too messy, to lowly, too insignificant. After all, who would expect anyone to show hospitality in an inn – a barn – an animal stall?

We had a lot of fun this summer with our sermon series on family. (Remember: porch, living room, kitchen?) Well, I remember one conversation in particular when we showed a slide of a beautiful country kitchen (not ours). Several families shared with us that they would feel ashamed to invite us into their kitchens when (what they assumed was) ours looked so great. We had to laugh – and many of you saw the “real picture” the following week!

Sometimes we look around at what we don’t have and assume what we do have it not good enough “for company”.

Folks, let me share with you a simply truth: people matter, not furniture! I would rather sit on wooden crates and enjoy your company than admire a hundred beautiful homes from the street.

Hospitality is probably the most underused of all of the Holy Spirit’s gifts and privileges – yet it’s one of the most powerful tools for touching others.

There’s one final excuse – maybe it’s not so much an excuse as an explanation, and it wraps these first four up in one very uncomfortable package:

Why did the residents of Bethlehem ignore the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Why didn’t anyone make room for the Prince of Peace?

Why? Because the entire lot of them were simply SEF-ABSORBED; they were focused on their own needs, their own desires, their own busy, full and burdened lives – and they missed the greatest birth in all eternity!


What are you missing because there’s “no room”?

As many excuses as there may be for not reaching out to our neighbors this Advent season – there are multitudes more for doing it.

The greatest: Jesus was not to busy…though as God He controls the worlds, He carries the burden of all of creation within His hands – He wasn’t too busy to come to earth and be born in the lowest of places.

He wasn’t too busy to reach out and touch you with His forgiving Good News.

“ ‘If only I had been there! How quick I would have been to help the baby.’ ” Martin Luther the reformer wrote, “ ‘I would have washed His linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord laying in the manger!’ We say that because we know how great Christ is, but if we had been there at that time, we would have done no better than the people of Bethlehem…Why don’t we do it now? We have Christ in our neighbor.”

One day Jesus was teaching His disciples while sitting on the Mount