December is upon us and many, like me, have a hard time accepting another year has come and is almost gone. It seems each year the pace quickens and the pressure increases. Holiday parties, Christmas cards and photos, a winter getaway, the perfect family dinner and paying homage to the most consumptive and material season of all combine to contradict the sentiment that, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Pastor Ed asked us this weekend which character in the Christmas story we relate to the most. In a slight twist to the question, I ask if we are like the “Inn” where Joseph and Mary sought shelter for the night. As the story is told, there was no room at the Inn.
When that seldom heard from friend calls and suggests coffee or lunch does our day planner say there is no room at the Inn? When the call comes from the bereavement meals coordinator for another broccoli salad for an upcoming memorial service at the church does our mental schedule say there is no room at the Inn? When that sought after item comes up for the “one day only” sale does the invisible there’s no room at the Inn “force field” go up blocking out all else? When the idea enters your mind to call the son or daughter or the mom or dad to just say, “I love you and appreciate you,” does your mental gatekeeper say I will do it later as there is currently no room at the inn? When Pastor Ed asks “who can you encourage this week?” does your heart say there is no room at the Inn to encourage anyone? When the Holy Spirit nudges your heart to give the gift of praise to Jesus Christ as a birthday gift does your spiritual tank say there’s no room at the Inn?
Yes, these are busy days and only twenty or so shopping days until Christmas, but even though there was no room at the Inn, the Innkeeper found a place for the baby Jesus to be born. I am challenged this year to be an Innkeeper and not just be an Inn.
A final thought for this blog post. This is not for everyone since we all have different circumstances. Ed presented us with the challenge on Saturday, December 9th, to place a $20 bill in a GateWay giving envelope and slip it into a Salvation Army Christmas Kettle as an anonymous generous donor will match dollar for dollar every $20 bill that is given on that day. For those of us who can, let not my wallet say there is no room at the Inn.