I had heard this story before, but last year I saw it again on Facebook. Its point is packed with insight as the Christmas season gets underway, so here is the story for your consideration. My hope is that this year we will rediscover the good news of Christmas, even if the times we live in are troubling.
It was the biggest night of the year in a little town called Cornwall. It was the night of the annual Christmas pageant. It's an especially big deal for the children in town--they get to try out for the roles in the Christmas story. Everybody wants a part. Which leads us to the problem of Harold. Harold really wanted to be in the play, too, but he was—well—he was kind of a slow and simple kid. The directors knew Harold would be crushed if he didn't have a part, but they were afraid he might mess up the town's magic moment. Finally, they decided to cast Harold as the innkeeper, the one who turns Mary and Joseph away the night Jesus is born. He had only one line: "I'm sorry, we have no room." No one could imagine the impact that line would have.
The night of the pageant the church was packed, as usual. The Christmas story unfolded according to plan--angels singing, Joseph's dream, and the trip to Bethlehem. Finally, Joseph and Mary arrived at the door of the Bethlehem inn, looking appropriately tired. Joseph knocked on the inn door and Harold was there to open the door. Joseph asked his question on cue - "Do you have a room for the night?" Harold froze. After a long pause, Harold mumbled his line, "I'm sorry - we have no room." And, with a little coaching, he shut the door. The directors heaved a sigh of relief--prematurely.
As Mary and Joseph disappeared into the night, the set suddenly started shaking again, and the door opened. Harold was back! And then, in an unrehearsed moment that folks would not soon forget, Harold went running after the young couple, shouting as loud as he could, "Wait! Don't go, Joseph. Bring Mary back! You can have MY room!"
I think little Harold may have understood the real issue of Christmas better than anyone else there that night. How can you leave Jesus outside? You have to make room for Jesus. And that may be the issue for you this Christmas. What will you do with this Son of God who came to earth to find you? Jesus is the One who trades a throne room for a stable, and the praise of angels for human mockery. This is the Creator who gives Himself on a cross! The Bible gives us the only appropriate response: "The life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Look at what Jesus did to pay for your sin on the cross, and then say those life-changing words: "For me."
Jesus is at YOUR door this Christmas. Maybe He's been knocking for a long time. Maybe He won't keep knocking much longer. All your life--even the events of the last few months--have been to prepare you for this crossroads moment with Jesus your Savior. Don't leave Him outside any longer. Open the door this Christmas. Decide not to keep Him out any longer. Let him in, and give him room in your life. One way to do that is to join us as a community of believers in celebrating Jesus through the various opportunities the church has available for you this Christmastime.