“No Vacancy.” I’ve seen the glaring red sign silhouetted against a pitch dark mountain sky as my wife and I experienced the consequences of “We’ll just wait until we get there and make reservations” thinking. How were we supposed to know a special event was occurring and every motel and hotel in town would be gorged?
Mary and Joseph felt our pain. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7 KJV). Hundreds mauled the streets because of a military conscription or tax collection census ordered by August Caesar-the first Roman emperor. For Mary and Joseph, it meant leaving their hometown of Nazareth and traveling 70 long miles to the Judean village of Bethlehem. With her time of delivery at hand, it was a very taxing ride for Mary. Imagine their disappointment when all they saw were “No Vacancy” signs. The innkeeper offered them the only thing he had: a dark and dirty stable with a feeding trough for a cradle.
I too can unknowingly and unintentionally crowd Jesus out. Misplaced priorities will do it. Rather than choosing activities that nourish my mind and spirit, I choose those that bring only temporary satisfaction. “Stuff” clutters my 24 hours leading me to lay in dirty mangers instead of a king size bed in a spacious hotel suite. Too much of a good thing can even be bad, and less is often more. Overwork, addictions, jumbled finances, unhealthy relationships, obsessions with the latest tech gadgets, and busyness can all crowd Jesus out if I’m not careful. The Christmas season is a time for celebrating the birth of our Savior as well as giving and receiving. Don’t let the urgent in your life crowd out what’s important.
Prayer: Eternal God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may we celebrate Christmas daily in our hearts, being careful to remove or reprioritize those things that attempt to crowd You out of our lives.