December 14, Luke 2:1-7
By James R. Smith, Missouri Baptist Foundation President
It was early in the Advent season. The children came forward for the mystery box sermon. It had been Abagail's turn to put an object in the mystery box that I would use to create the children's sermon.
I reached in and retrieved a ceramic baby Jesus glued to a ceramic manger from a nativity set. As the treasure made its way through 20 sets of little hands, the airplane glue that had been used to secure Jesus gave way, and the baby Christ was freed from the manger.
I quoted Luke 2:7 as I dramatized placing the unglued baby Jesus back in the manger, "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him (dramatic emphasis here) in the manger."
"That's not all," called out a precocious five-year-old. "What else, Brandon?" I questioned, wondering where this would go.
The overachieving challenger corrected my simplicity, completing Luke 2:7. "She brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn."
"Yes, Brandon, there was no room for Him." Our topic shifted from Jesus in a manger to making room for Him in our lives, homes, schedules, on the playground and in Christmas plans.
The usual cycle of tax enrollment was 14 years. But a new tax had been placed on the Jews, even though only 10 years had passed, because of a quarrel between Herod and Augustus. Each one returned to his tribal family home. The inns were crowded, so Mary and Joseph were sent to a stable.
God had been working out his purpose and plans. Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled as rulers quarreled. God had worked out the time, place and circumstances of the birth of Christ, the Promised One of God.
People were living in crowded rooms. But how empty the world was until Christ came! As life becomes so overcrowded, we are reminded how empty life can be in a world with no room for Christ.