Beanery Online Literary Magazine

December 23, 2010



No Room In The Inn – Or In Your Life?*

Rev. Albert W. Kovacs**


And she gave birth to her first-born son

and wrapped him in swaddling cloths,

 and laid him in a manger,

because there was no room for them in the inn.


     Babies can come at the most inopportune times.

     A young couple may delay having a child until circumstances improve. They want to save for a home, become more secure in the job, wait until the economy improves, or until the spouse returns from Iraq.

     As the Bible tells us, the Lord who opens and closes the womb sometimes has other ideas—and one of His new creations is on the way, the latest handiwork of His awesome wonders.

      Mary’s son was on the way when she and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem. What a time for a census! Such a long way to go just because of some fool politician’s effort to exact taxes. And now that they finally arrived. Joseph talked to the innkeeper, then had to go out to tell his oh- so-pregnant wife: Mary, there’s no room in the inn. The best he could do was let us stay in the manger.

      Yet that was just the beginning of the intrusion of this son on their life. Just days later they would take him to the rabbi for circumcision. Another time they would almost go crazy looking for him, and had to return to find him at the Temple with the priests. So it went for years as Jesus took his place in their home and work, worship and community. One unhappy day later, Mary’s heart would be broken as she watched her son die on the cross, and his space at her table would forever be empty.

Get Out The Cigars

      That’s what happens when a baby enters our home. What an upset! Their schedule dictates ours, yet even that is a joy after the first weeks, when the baby had no schedule and awakened us at any and all times of night. But as they get bigger, they take up still more room – crib, bathinette, playpen, toy box(es), rocking horse,—and nap time, early bedtime (shh, the baby’s sleeping, turn down the TV). 

      So it goes, year after year, with school and homework, tri-cycles and bicycles, until one year their car takes up another space in the garage or at the curb. But as time goes on, it is those big days of birthdays and graduations, marriages and grandchildren that warm our hearts as we celebrate together. It is they whom we hope to see return home and make holidays happy days, as the scattered family gets together. Thank God for the space they take up in our lives.

Come Into My Heart, Lord Jesus

      We have heard that God is a Spirit, and we know that a spirit doesn’t take up space. But when God in Christ came to live among us, beginning as a babe He took up space. He had to be given room, truly God in the midst of us. And this never changes, for we cannot reduce the Savior to a spirit. In our Confirmations, we affirmed that this Son of God abides in us and rules over our hearts, and that we abide in Him. We affirm that we are a part of His body, that He is still very much present in the world in His Church, claiming a special space among us that alters how we live every day of our lives.

      The Christ-child of Bethlehem needs space to grow in our lives. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. However, sometimes our lives are so crowded that His entry is inopportune—maybe later. But He warns that, like the unprepared maidens, we may miss the time of His coming, set by Him and not by us. 

      When He comes, we must recognize that this is no child of ours for us to teach. Rather, He is the Son of God who comes to teach us. We need to learn His language, to pray as He taught us and as often as He did. We need to learn of His ways, to live a righteous life as He did.

     He who lives in us takes up space in our lives, time for worship and time for service.

     As we look at our daily calendars they will tell us whether He truly has a place in our hearts and lives, and if O come all ye faithful is a song we heed faithfully every Sunday and every day.

O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; …

O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.


*Previously published in the Calvin Synod Herald                                                      **The Hungarian Reformed Church of Johnstown-Windber (PA) elected retired minister, the Rev. Albert W. Kovacs, as their new minister on 31 January 2010. The Rev. Kovacs lives in Ligonier (PA)





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