I was at the airport in good time, ready for the long-haul flight to Hong Kong. There was just one snag. I got to the front of the queue only to be told “You’re not on this flight.” That was strange because I had my ticket ready and everything. But you see, the airline had over-booked the flight. So I had to wait around to see if there was a spare seat if someone didn’t show up.
That’s how life works isn’t it. We go to book our place and hope there’ll be enough room. Space is restricted and it causes headaches. Some of you have been the other side of things. You are planning for the wedding and you’ve got a long list of guests. There’s all the people you think you probably should invite, there’s all the people your parents tell you that custom dictates you should invite and then there’s a whole load of other people who you want there but can’t find space for. So you invite Aunt Ethel and Uncle Arnold but secretly you are hoping that they will decline. Then you can invite 2 more guests.
It’s evening, a baby is due, the town is crowded and there is no-where to stay. Luke may be talking about guest houses (inns) but actually, even more outrageously, when he tells us that there was no room, he may be describing the inner part of the house, the guest room for family. No room for a heavily pregnant girl -but after all, this girl with her baby of uncertain parentage and the weird and convenient story of angels and dreams probably isn’t that welcome.
No room for this young girl, just as our society today says that there is no room for the stranger, the vulnerable and the outcast.
No room for God, The Son.
And yet, there amongst the animals, Jesus is born. Our Christmas theme has been all about #HomeForChristmas this year. We’ve been talking about how God, in Jesus, chose to make his home among us. He lived among us, died an outcast, criminal’s death so that we could have life, so that we could know forgiveness.
He came to die so that we might have life. He bore our guilt and shame on the Cross so that we might know forgiveness and true freedom. He came to make his home with us so that we can have an eternal home with him.
And this is the wonder of that event. Later in his life, in fact, shortly before that unjust death, he told his followers
“Don’t be anxious. I am going to prepare a home for you with my father…. In my father’s house there are many mansions.”
In other words, there is more than enough room
This is important, because we judge God by our standards. We suspect that there won’t be quite enough room for us. We might get on an initial guest list but even if we do, God is checking his list, once, twice, deciding who is naughty and nice because he needs to cut some guests off the list so he can invite those he really wants there.
No, there is enough room with him. The offer of forgiveness, life, an eternal home with God is for you. How will you respond?