“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
I’ll be honest here. I have been avoiding writing this blog the last few days. Why? I didn’t want to dampen the Christmas spirit writing about the plight of foster kids.
Sounds cowardly? Maybe.
But I can’t avoid it any longer. I need to write about it.
I woke up this morning to a voicemail asking me if I have room for a sibling set of four kids ranging in ages 4 to 12. If not for all four kids, is there room for at least two?
I woke up to the question, “Is there a room at your home?”
About eight months ago, I received a similar call for a sibling set of two — a 4-week old baby girl and her 6-year-old brother. We had just finished a very difficult foster placement and our whole family was pretty worn out by the experience. We had just entered a season of rest.
“Please, no calls until we tell you that we are ready to take another placement.”
Three weeks into our break, I received a message asking if we would be open to taking in this sibling set. The social worker shared with me that he had called over sixty homes and had spent hours on the phone, but they couldn’t find a family willing to take them in.
He said if we want, we can take one child. No one wanted to take in an infant and a school-aged child. Usually, people were willing to take in infants or school-aged children, but not both at the same time.
I was torn.
Emotionally I was not in a place to take another child in. We had promised our kids that we were going to take a long break. What should we do?
This situation required some dialogue with Jesus. To get my head cleared and have my heart uncluttered by distractions at home, I went for a walk.
With my headphones on, I began talking with Jesus about the request, and the dilemma I felt. Then, somewhere in the middle of my walk, I heard a quiet voice echo in my heart.
“Rebecca, there was no room for me in the inn too.”
“Oh my gosh Lord, You are right. There was no room for you at the inn.”
Then the tears just flowed.
Of course. If they had known who this baby was, perhaps they might have made a room for Him, the King of all Kings, the Messiah, the Savior of our world.
But Mary and Joseph, they had no significant status in the society. Desperately seeking a place to give birth to a baby, the only place made available was a place for animals. Jesus’ first bed was a feeding trough, a manger.
Why? Because there was no room for him in the inn.
That day we took in a four week old and her six-year-old brother. We told the social worker that we have room for them, although only temporarily until a more permanent solution could be found.
Since then, the quiet words of Jesus have stayed with me. I’ve been thinking a lot about these words, particularly this Advent season
If the innkeeper had known, who Jesus was, would he have made space for Jesus and his family?
I can’t help but wonder….
I have wondered at times if any of the kids who we have received into our home might one day become the President of the U.S. or the next great scientist, artist, inventor, a preacher, or a great humanitarian.
But actually, that doesn’t matter. I am reminded that when I take a child in, I am receiving a stranger, a child, who bears the image of the King of all Kings. and that he or she is worthy of a room in my inn. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40
The voicemail message this morning was another reminder to me that there are still many who are looking for a room.
No longer can I sing the song, “Away in a manger, no crib for his bed” just as a Christmas song. Our Lord Jesus came like the children seeking a crib, a bed, and a room.
What about you?
Is there a room in your inn to receive a child who bears the image of Jesus? Is there a room in your inn to welcome strangers and those in need in Jesus’ name?
I am reminded that this is what the Christmas spirit is all about.