I listened to the J Piper "The Innkeeper" again this am. I have heard the "Christmas story" so many times I can't begin to count, but I never really considered what it would have been like to be a "normal" person in that time.
No room in the inn would have been par for the course for almost everyone living at that time and I don't think it is too much different today.
The political leader was trying to make sure he wasn't "dethroned" by some little child that was foretold so long ago. Maybe he learned that from one of his predecessors- Pharaoh- maybe he just came about it naturally, being a greedy, power hungry monarch trying to make his name stick in the history books. Is it any different today? Who are those rulers who are standing up for Christ and making room in their "kingdoms" for Him?
What about the soldiers who were under Caesar's command? Could they have rebelled against their leader, did they actually want too? It certainly doesn't seem as if they were against any of this killing. Maybe this Jesus would get rid of them if He took control. Maybe He had a totally different way of running things and they would be turned into slaves? Could they take a chance on that, or should they stick to things the way they were- kill or be killed. Is that an different today? Is there room in the hearts of most of our military personnel for Christ? I served a few years and I didn't see that happening too much.
What about the religious leaders? They were worried about being on the wrong side of the new religious system. The current leaders were stating their case and making sure they pushed down whomever brought up something that made them look, in the least bit, bad. They had their way of doing things- we've always done it this way- and they were not going to hear of anything different. What about today? Where are those religious leaders who are willing to stand up against all the "new" religious ways- homosexual pastors, same sex marriage, evo-creation and the list goes on. Christmas is a nice story to most religious leaders today.
And what about the people who were just regular old people then? What is all the ruckus about? It's just another baby. Yeah right- the Messiah we have been hearing about is born in a stable to a couple of regular people. And what about all the scandal surrounding this Mary? Sure- she's a virgin. When was the last time you saw that? We'll wait to see what happens and when it turns out that this Jesus grows up like the rest of our boys then we'll know He wasn't anything special. He is nothing special to look at and He has no power, no royal blood and no fanfare that can be seen.
Is it different today? People, even church going people seem to think that Jesus is just an accessory to who they are- you can put Him on and off when it's convenient. Sunday morning is for church and the rest of the week is for doing what I want to do- right? I mean I can be a Christian and still do all the things I used to do- I have liberty. Look how many people I am helping. I'm not like those "other" people who don't have any room in their hearts for Him- He gets Sunday morning, as long as it's not Superbowl Sunday, or as long as I don't have a game to go to. He will understand that sports, vacations, family time, and whatever else I can cram in, are rally good things- right?
There was no room in the inn and it seems there is no room in most people's lives today. Too many distractions and not enough time for the true meaning of life and Christmas. We look back and say, "They totally missed it", but would we have missed it too? Would our lives have been to crowded to see that this is the One? Too busy getting ready for the weekend. Too busy getting ready to have company over, cooking and cleaning? Too busy thinking about slaughtering the lamb for dinner to see that The Lamb was born for sinners?
Oh, I think many today would have missed it. Our lives are much too crowded with stuff to have enough time to stop and realize that the King is here. What does He require? Sunday mornings? All day Sunday? He requires ALL our lives to be lived for Him- whatever that looks like. Each is in a different place and each has the opportunity to live for the Messiah or live for themselves. Which will it be? Is there room in your heart for this Jesus, or is it too full of good things to even add one more?