Summary: This is the second in an Advent Series. This message deals with those who neglected to notice Mary & Joseph in the inn. Thoughts for the direction of this sermon were greatly influenced by a John MacArthur message "The People Who Missed Christmas".
Making Room…Luke 2:1-7
Intro: (Read Text)
He gets a pretty bum rap for someone we actually don’t even know exists. The Bible doesn’t mention him (or if he existed). Tradition talks a great deal about the fellow – but it’s still all tradition and folk-lore to be historically honest: that “poor innkeeper” who told Mary and Joseph there was “no room in the inn”.
What Was The “Inn”?
Maybe a good way to begin is to explain exactly what an “inn” was in those days.
We read about one type on inn in Luke chapter ten “he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35The next day he handed the innkeeper two pieces of silver (about $250) and told him to take care of the man.” (Luke 10:34-35) [pan-dokh-i’-on – a place of lodging - motel]
However, that’s not the type of inn we find in Luke chapter two. [kat-al’-oo-mah] The word here literally means “the breaking up of a journey”.
Often in ancient Israel the journey between to towns would take longer than a day, so ancient “KOI’s” (Kampground of Israel) developed beside the roads. Since Bethlehem was a small village less than five miles from Jerusalem there probably was no need for a [pandokhion] but there might be a need for a [kataloomah]. More than likely the inn was just a stopover for caravans on their way through Jerusalem to Galilee or Egypt.
Such “inns” had no innkeeper, they were simply crude stone walls encircling an area for the animals. The nicer of these inns would be two story structures where the overnight guests would sleep on the upper level while their animals rested underneath in the “ancient parking lot”.
On top of that, we can be pretty sure that any spare rooms in Bethlehem would be taken by the visiting officials working for the “Roman census bureau”. Add to these officials the many individuals returning for the census and taxation - there probably would have been little if any room – anywhere.
So Mary and Joseph arrive a little later than the crowds before them. Traveling with a woman in labor is a SLOW process! No one seems to notice or maybe they are both far too self-conscience to seek any help.
They end up in the parking lot of the local RV park among the camels, donkeys and other animals: dirty, stinky, noisy and probably alone.
And it’s in that lowly place that the Creator of the universe is born in human flesh: no maternity ward, no doctors or nurses, no family…NO ROOM!
Our theme for this first Sunday of Advent “The Christmas Touch” is “TOUCH YOUR NEIGHBORS”.
Even within our small community, it’s easy to overlook those that live the closest to us, isn’t it? We may know them but when was the last time we asked God to allow us to genuinely touch them with His love?
TOUCH YOUR NEIGHBORS…touch our neighbors.
This morning’s Scripture points to what I believe is the real reason we fail to reach out to those around us with the Christ-mas Touch.
Ready for the reason? “No room”
Jesus ended up out in the cold because there was simply no room.
And those around us will be ignored for the very same reason this season if we buy into the same excuse – no room.
Why didn’t someone notice? Why didn’t some husky caravan driver give up his spot for the night for this young, needy couple? Why didn’t anyone seem to care?
I came up with at least five pretty good excuses if you’d let me share them with you this morning.
First, most of the inhabitants were simply TOO BUSY, too busy to be bothered by this young couple.
There were reunion meals to prepare, tax forms to get in order, at the inn there were animals to feed and a night’s rest to be had (that is if the animals ever quieted down and that lady down there would ever stop screaming every three minutes).
It’s absolutely no different today. This time of year is the busiest of all seasons. Add to all of the regular end of the year business and shorter days – all of the shopping, decorating, cooking, card sending, office and family get-togethers – how on earth would anyone expect us to make a special effort to reach out to a neighbor we hardly ever talk to?
We’re just too busy.
Second, the Bible tell us that Bethlehem was TOO FULL, to full for even one more young family.
This probably goes along with excuse #1, our schedules are far too full! There is no room in the inn – and there’s definitely NO TIME on the calendar.
Terrie and I sat down this week to coordinate our calendars for the remainder of this year. And even though it appears that there were a lot of open days on that calendar we both knew that those days were already filled with kids, cleaning, homework, college applications, scholarship hunts, (oh yes – and another litter of puppies this next week!).