Summary: Even many Christians will miss the real reason for the season. And we might be the cause for the world not to know Jesus. Will you take up the challenge to tell others about the birth of Christ in your very lives?
Opening illustration: Have you ever missed a great opportunity? The story is told of a small resort area along the east coast that was having an open town meeting concerning some financial problems they were facing. Among the two dozen or so people was one man no one seemed to know who was apparently visiting the area and had just dropped in on the meeting. He started to make a comment as various projects were considered but he was interrupted; so for the rest of the time, he kept still and finally left early.
Just as he went out, someone arriving late came in and said breathlessly, “What was he doing here? Is he going to help us out?” The rest of them said, “Who are you talking about? Who was that man?” The person who had just arrived said, “You don’t know who that was? That was John D. Rockefeller.” That night they missed an incredible opportunity because THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHO HE WAS!
Introduction: Right here in our nation, there are a lot of people who miss Christmas. Now it might seem like it would be hard to miss it here, since every place you turn there is a ton of advertising going on about what you need to buy for Christmas. It’s not just the advertising either, there are the lights and the Christmas trees and the snow and the parties. So here in America, very, very few people will miss the Christmas celebration, but many will miss Christmas. Even many Christians will miss the real reason for the season. And we might be the cause for the world not to know Jesus.
Today I want to look back in time at those who were actually there in Bethlehem. We want to gain an understanding of how someone can miss Christmas. Scripture tells us of three kinds of folks who missed Christmas even though it was in their own backyard. Somehow, with all the commotion, they missed its essence and opportunity. They missed the joy, the hope and the satisfaction is brought. The greatest event in the world was under way with the coming of the Savior, and these people were absent.
Who were the people who missed Christmas?
1. The Inn Keeper – His life was too crowded for Christ (Luke 2:1-7)
The innkeeper is the first person who missed Christmas. Christmas was literally out his back door, but he missed it. He met a pregnant woman with child but he had no room for them. He wouldn’t make room for them. Surely he could have rolled out a mat on the floor of his own home had he been willing to inconvenience himself but he wasn’t and so he missed Christmas.
Where were the people who were supposed to care for things like this? Where was the inn keeper? Didn’t he know anybody who could help? Couldn’t even the innkeeper’s wife concern herself with this matter? All this is foreshadowing to the truth of what the prophet said, that the Savior would be despised and rejected. It seems that this was the case even from his own birth. And whatever the stable was, it was not the cleanest place to have a child. It would have been full of animals, and their droppings. It probably would have been filled with smoke from a fire built by Joseph to keep Mary warm. It was not a place for any baby, let alone the Son of God come in the flesh.
The inn keeper was busy caring for his guest and his inn and whatever other things an innkeeper takes care of. He was preoccupied with dirty dishes, mud on the tile floor, animal manure that needed to be cleaned away from the entrance to the inn, the rich customers upstairs who were demanding more blankets and another wine skin. He wasn’t an evil man, and he wasn’t unloving or unsympathetic. He wasn’t angry or belligerent. He wasn’t even indifferent. He was just busy. Just too busy! He had business to take care of. His family also was a priority to him. He wanted to provide for them and spend time with them. His friend too, was inviting him over for dinner tonight and he just couldn’t take the time to bother with a poor family who arrived in Bethlehem so late. He wasn’t evil. He was just too busy.
Think about your own lives this year. Have you spent more time shopping or decorating or baking than you have loving and serving others? Have you spent more money on stuff, than you have on investing in His Kingdom? Have you given more of your time and energy to the busy pursuits of life than in building relationships with people? The innkeeper missed Christmas. Let us not miss it as well.