No Room in the Inn

Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
— Luke 2:4-7

Most of us are very familiar with the Christmas story and Jesus being born in a stable because there was no room for them. It’s one of the worst feelings to go into a place and find out there is no room for you. Whether that is a hotel after traveling for hours and hours, a restaurant that has a long wait list, or a church that is filled only on the aisle side leaving the middle open. Having to crawl over people can be uncomfortable and a bit awkward or having to go all the way to the front to find a seat can feel intimidating, especially if you are a visitor.

Making room for others is sometimes very difficult to do, particularly when we feel we have the right to sit in our pew on the aisle side. We feel comfortable where we are since we’ve sat in the same place for years. Now let’s think about what it must feel like to come into a church as a visitor. You’re walking into the sanctuary and finding no room to sit because everyone is sitting on the aisle ends of the pews and all of the back pews are taken. Would you go home because no one made room for you, would you continue to move forward until you found an empty seat, or would you stand in the aisle until someone moved over to make room for you? If you found a seat toward the front, would you be so nervous about when to stand and when to sit, or how communion was done that you didn’t feel as if you worshiped?

In 2 Corinthians 7:2 it says, “Make room in your hearts.” Having room in our hearts for others is what God has called us to do. When we make room in our hearts for one another, moving over to make room for others in our pew is easy to do. Be aware of the needs of others and then take the time to meet that need. Yes, it may be difficult to move down the pew, especially when you have your spot warmed up or your children already have their items scattered over the pew. Knowing we are being God’s hands and feet in this world, we can accomplish what we are called to do. So as you worship this Christmas season, please be aware of those coming into our church, maybe for the first time and make room for them in your heart and your pew or sit closer to the front so that the back pews are welcoming to those coming late or those who are new.

I pray that as a congregation we will always make room others in our hearts and our church. I know that some of us really need to sit on the aisle, but a need is different than a desire. If you are truly able to move to the center, to make room for others please do and not only during this busy Christmas season, but all year long.