Summary: This was a Christmas Day message challenging people to not leave Christ in Christmas
A Reflection of Tomorrow
So here is the question: When do your put Christmas away? We usually do it on New Year’s Day. You know; take down the tree and Christmas cards, remove the lights from outside the house, pack up the nativity scene. And before the first day of the new year is finished so is Christmas, at least for another year. And I would suspect that in a less tangible way that for most folks they will put Christmas away early tomorrow morning. I don’t mean the trappings of Christmas, I mean the essence of Christmas. You know, what Christmas is all about.
For the past month the talk has been about Jesus and his birth, about Angels and Magi, Shepherds and mangers. But that will be done today when the sun goes down. For many people, and unfortunately many who identify themselves in some way with Christ and his church the baby Jesus will be packed up with the manger scene and tucked away until Easter.
Yesterday our total attendance in all of our services was a little over 640 and on Easter Sunday we normally have in excess of 350 in attendance. And I’m not complaining, I love Christmas Eve and consider it one of our primary outreach events. And for the non-churched, non-aligned, non-committed I think it’s great that we have the opportunity to present the gospel to them in such a positive way.
But there are people who we saw last night, who we won’t see again until Easter Sunday who if you asked them would tell you that they were Christians, that they follow Jesus. And yet they seem quite content to leave Jesus either in the cradle or on the cross.
And that certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, 2000 years ago at the first Christmas and then 33 years later when Christ was murdered there were those who were participants in the event and yet it had no impact on their lives whatsoever. It was merely an incident that happened and they moved on and never looked back.
The Inn Keeper and Soldiers Were There How could they know that by simply doing their jobs they were assured a place in history. Granted we don’t know their names but out of all the Inn Keepers since the beginning of time this is the one whose story stands out, simply because he said “We have no room”. And of the uncountable number of Roman Soldiers who served during the reign of the Roman Empire these men who mocked and tortured Jesus are the one who have been immortalized in books and paintings and movies.
The inn keeper’s story is recorded in Luke 2:7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
The innkeeper wasn’t being malicious, he didn’t have anything personal against Mary and Joseph he just didn’t care. The inn had been packed for days with the census going on and his inn was packed. Maybe. I don’t know if the inn was actually full or if we need to take a closer look at the phrase, there was no lodging available for them.
You see Luke didn’t say that there was no room in the inn, what he said was there was no room for THEM in the inn. I wonder if demand had outstripped supply and prices had soared beyond the reach of the ordinary person. I wonder if there would have been room in the inn if Joseph had of been Herod’s carpenter?
The soldiers get more than a verse but it’s all part of the same story John 19:2-3 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face. But it wasn’t anything personal. They would have done the same if it had been Barabbas or any other criminal. It was just a way to break up their day and their cruelty was an impersonal cruelty.
The mocked him because they could, they were in power and he wasn’t, they considered themselves to be right and him to be wrong and saw it as their right. But at the end of the day they had forgotten the one whom some called King of the Jews.
The innkeeper and the soldiers are symbolic of the vast majority of people on that Christmas day. The innkeeper didn’t know that it was the son of God he had turned away and the soldiers didn’t know it was the son of God they had nailed to a cross, it was just business.