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Hospitality. What do you think of when you hear that word? I think of a home where guests are welcomed, where there is a warmth that makes them feel ‘at home.’  Over the years my experience of ‘hospitality’ has varied. Sometimes there are elaborate preparations but no personal welcome so it feels like being entertained rather than welcomed. How wonderful to be met with a real smile, invited in to sense that the hosts really mean it when they say “make yourself comfortable.”  There I find myself leaning back on the couch, settling in, and kicking off my shoes.

Today, we will go to the familiar text in Luke for our thought but first I want to ask –
Does the Lord Jesus find you hospitable and welcoming? 
Is He ‘at home’ in your life?

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:4-7, NIV)  No room! Apparently nobody felt much hospitality in that inn, nobody who said, “Let the pregnant lady take my place here.” She was invisible, a nobody, unwelcomed. The Son of God entered the world without human welcome or warmth.

Hospitality requires intention and focus. When I feel that warm welcome to another’s home it is because they have taken time to think about me, not only to prepare their home, but to open their hearts. Real hospitality can create new relationships, extending our family connections beyond those created by shared DNA! 

Remember this – one does not have to openly reject another to fail at being hospitable!  Sometimes the failure results from distraction or issues that are going on under the surface. I have been invited to dinner and arrived to feel a ‘chill’ in the air only to realize that it’s not about me.  The hosts had a fight prior to my arrival and the emotions are still there.  When Joseph and Mary showed up in Bethlehem there was no hostility, just apathy. It seems that nobody really took notice, because they were just taken up with their own ‘stuff.’

As we celebrate the Incarnation, God come to us in flesh, let’s prepare Him room!  Let’s be intentional in our worship, focused on opening our hearts and minds to His Presence, ready to set aside our agenda and our needs to say “Come in, Jesus, and make Yourself at home in my life.”  When invited to dinner I would much prefer a simple meal with a warm welcome over an elaborate feast with no real intimacy.  He, too, does not look for us to make a big ‘fuss’ or go through all kinds of ritual. He comes to those who desire to know Him. John writes “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:10-12, NIV)   

Did you see what results from recognizing Him, receiving Him in faith, making room for Him? 

He changes our identity, restores us to our place in God’s eternal family

Let’s make time to worship.
Let’s step out of the hustle of the holidays to meditate on His love
Let’s engage ourselves with God, the Holy Spirit, welcoming His Presence.  
Give Jesus room today.

The word from the Word is a promise for those who will open themselves up to the Presence of God.
“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 him, and he with me.
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne,
just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.”
(Revelation 3:20-21, NIV)   Amen!

(Video of this blog at this link)

_______________

No Room

(a real old one but a good one!)

No room only a manger of hay
No room He is a stranger today
No room here in His world turned away
No room no room

Angels in heaven up yonder
Watch with amazement and wonder
To see the Son of the Highest treated so
No room no room no room

No room here in the hearts of mankind
No room no cheery welcome could find
No room surely the world is blind
No room no room no room

No room only a manger of hay
No room He is a stranger today
No room here in His world turned away
No room no room no room

John W. Peterson

© 1958. Renewed 1986 John W. Peterson Music Company

CCLI License # 810055

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