“And she gave birth to her first-born son, and…. laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
One reason God’s people have made so much of this verse, even to the point of inventing harsh innkeepers who slam doors in the faces of the young couple from Nazareth until they find a friendly face who apologetically gives them room in his stable, is that it so perfectly summarizes what the world has done to Jesus ever since: shunted Him off to the side and tried to ignore Him.
Scripture says, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not” (John 1:11).
Of course, in the birth narrative Scripture mentions no innkeepers, harsh or otherwise, and doesn’t even reference a stable. Only a manger, a feed-trough.
I said to a church in rural Alabama, “Of course, those of us who grew up on the farm know that stables are where you find feed-troughs! There might be one manger outside in the ‘lot,’ what some would call a corral, but the little family will not be seeking shelter in an open cattle pen. So, our vision of Jesus as being born inside a stable is probably exactly right.”
Ever since that time, the world has tried to continue that practice, crowding out the Lord Jesus and giving Him tiny places in our world and our hearts.
We honor Him with words–think of the thousands upon thousands of books written about Him–and even give Him His special day! Then, we want to ignore Him the rest of the year.
School boards and city councils tell those they invite to pray, “Just don’t get sectarian.” That translates to one thing and one thing only: “Do not mention Jesus in your prayer.”
That’s why it will be a cold day in Washington, D. C., before Franklin Graham and Rick Warren get invited to pray at another presidential inauguration. They made the fatal errors in their inauguration prayers: They mentioned Jesus.
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