Being a seaside resort, Scarborough has more than its fair share of Bed & Breakfasts. A while ago a member of my church who runs a B&B made the observation that the church didn’t really cater for these people by having its services on the weekend – the busiest day of the week for B&Bers. While this was undoubtably true, the suggestion (like most good suggestions that make sense but we weren’t expecting) got lost in the clamour of other issues. This morning it returned to my mind.
It is a little late for Christmas reflections, but in trying to empathise with B&Bers my thoughts turned to the Inn Keeper in the Christmas Story. Sometimes villianised, sometimes praised, there is very little we know about this character other than he gave up the only space he had left. I imagine that if putting strangers and holiday makers up in your home is your business then you put a lot of yourself into it. Your B&B (or your Inn) would be your livelihood – your heart.
Not much is said in the Bible about the Inn Keeper. The recent BBC drama The Nativity suggested that the scandal of Mary’s pre wedlock pregnancy may have been the cause of their difficulty to find a room for the Messiah to be born, but the Bible simply comments that there was no room. And yet this Inn Keeper, hassled and busy, finds room in his Inn – in his heart. It may not have been the best room but perhaps this Inn Keeper sensed something unusual with this strange couple.
We always bang on about giving Jesus all of our hearts but maybe He is happy just to take residence at first. Maybe He can work on the rest of it later. Maybe it’s ok to start off small. Sure Jesus could heal our whole heart in one fell swoop but maybe the journey is equally important. What is your heart? Your job? Your family? If you haven’t given any of your heart to Jesus yet don’t you think it might just be worth the risk? If He, the Creator of all, the Beginning, the End, the Saviour, if He can be born in a stable – just imagine what he can do with even a tiny part of your heart!
A word of warning and of challenge to those of us who opened up the stable long ago: don’t keep Him there. I mean you could go the rest of your life with Jesus in your heart’s stable and I’m pretty sure you would probably get to heaven: but really what’s the point? God says to a church in the book of revelation: I want all or nothing, hot or cold. It may start with a bit of your heart but for Jesus it’s about all of it.
Let me leave you with a verse from the Bible that was given not to the world but to a church of believers:
Revelation 3:20 ‘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 that person, and they with me.’