Thursday, December 22, 2011
Small Signs of God - The Innkeeper
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." (Revelation 3:20)
We were traveling in Maine and it was late and we were tired and hungry. When the innkeeper opened the door, I knew it was where I wanted my family to spend the night. It was clean and inviting and good smells were coming from the kitchen. But the innkeeper said, "I'm sorry, we are full tonight." She must have seen the disappointment in my face. As we turned away, she called, "Wait, I do have one room that might work. Your children are small and it is late." We accepted quickly, thinking we could all sleep on the floor if we could just have a little space for the night. She said to go get dinner and when we returned the room would be ready.
Pleased at our good fortune, we returned to find our "one room that sleeps five." The door was opened and we walked into a sight for tired eyes. It was basic with one bed. But on the floor were three small "beds" that had been created out of cushions, pillows and quilts. The sheets folded back, holding small stuffed animals waiting for three sleepy new friends.
The innkeeper in the Nativity often gets looked down upon, but there was something that made him stop and reconsider. Maybe he saw the tired weary couple and was moved to help. Those were common people and that was the way babies were born in Bethlehem. Surely there was a spot for Jesus. Basic warmth and safety could set the stage for surprise visits of angels singing and stars dancing.
This Advent, I wonder what kind of innkeeper I am. Can I find room for others? Or will I turn them away? Can I be creative in "making do" when I don't have enough beds, enough time, enough money, enough energy or patience? Can I go beyond the basics of warmth and shelter to offer pure hospitality and love with a few dancing stars as a perk?
Jesus is looking for hearts that will open the door to make room for him this Christmas. Like Joseph, He must be so weary of knocking on hard-to-open doors, just hoping this year, there might be a small place for him to rest his head. Would it be in your heart? Do you hear Him knocking? What will you say?
Yes, there is room this Advent. Enter my heart and I, too, will hear angels sing.