It was the biggest night of the year in a little town called Cornwall. It was the night of the annual Christmas pageant. It's an especially big deal for the children in town -- they get to try out for the roles in the Christmas story. Everybody wants a part.
Which leads us to the problem of Harold. Harold really wanted to be in the play, too, but he was - well, he was kind of a slow and simple kid. The directors were ambivalent - I mean, they knew Harold would be crushed if he didn't have a part, but they were afraid he might mess up the town's magic moment. Finally, they decided to cast Harold as the innkeeper - the one who turns Mary and Joseph away the night Jesus is to be born. He had only one line - "I'm sorry, we have no room." Well, no one could imagine what that one line was going to do to everyone's Christmas.
The night of the pageant the church was packed, as usual. The Christmas story unfolded according to plan - angels singing, Joseph's dream, and the trip to Bethlehem. Finally, Joseph and Mary arrived at the door of the Bethlehem inn, looking appropriately tired. Joseph knocked on the inn door, and Harold was there to open the door.
Joseph asked his question on cue - "Do you have a room for the night?" Harold froze. After a long pause, Harold mumbled his line, "I'm sorry - we have no room." And, with a little coaching, he shut the door. The directors heaved a sigh of relief - prematurely. As Mary and Joseph disappeared into the night, the set suddenly started shaking again - and the door opened. Harold was back! And then, in an unrehearsed moment that folks would not soon forget, Harold went running after the young couple, shouting as loud as he could -- "Wait! Don't go Joseph. Bring Mary back! You can have MY room!"
I think little Harold may have understood the real issue of Christmas better than anyone else there that night. How can you leave Jesus outside? You have to make room for Jesus. And that may be the issue for you this Christmas. What will you do with this Son of God who came to earth to find you?
Jesus is the One who trades a throne room for a stable, and the praise of angels for human mockery. This is the Creator who gives Himself on a cross! The Bible gives us the only appropriate response: "The life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal. 2:20) You look at what Jesus did to pay for your sin on that cross, and you say those life-changing words - "For me."
Jesus is at YOUR door this Christmas. Maybe He's been knocking for a long time. Maybe He won't keep knocking much longer. All your life - even the events of the last few months - have been to prepare you for this crossroads moment with Jesus your Savior. Don't leave Him outside any longer. Open the door this Christmas Day. "Jesus, I cannot keep You out any longer. Come on in. You can have my room . . . my life."
Originally titled "Trouble at the Inn" by Dina Donahue