By Tim and Laura Paauw
12 / 24 / 2016
“There’s no room for you in this inn.”
No introduction is needed on the context of this sentence for those celebrating the Christ of Christmas. I imagine none of us look at the inn-keeper’s legacy in this world and say, “I wish I were him.” Would you really want to go down in the history books as the one who provided the animal feed-box as the Savior of the world’s first bed?
If I could offer one consolation message to that dear inn-keeper it would be that he was a key part of the story bringing the greatest awaited treasure for all of humankind to earth: a savior (Luke 2:11), “the word becoming flesh” (John 1:14), “The highest glory of God” (Luke 2:14). The manger wasn’t an accidental side effect of God’s plan in becoming man, it was crucial. The inn keeper’s feed-box was required. It reflects the heart and character of God as Christ humbly became man…
“One’s pride will bring him low,
but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” -Proverbs 29:23
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” -1 Corinthians 1:20-30
For all of us, there is a lesson found in the manger as the setting. We should be humble, because Christ was humble. In that spirit of humility we find our savior and only in Christ do we understand God’s healing and strength (read the first part of Philippians 2 if this isn’t making sense yet).
Have you ever read a passage in the Bible for the ninety-ninth time and only on reading it for the hundredth time do you feel you learned something new that provides a promise worth waiting for? I believe God places that “aha moment!” in our life sometimes because of the circumstance. Let me give you a few examples that our family has experienced within the last year of our life…
When we wondered if our non-verbal son Nolan would ever speak to us we found a Bible verse that warmed our heart and spoke to our soul:
…”and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” -Philippians 2:11
Yes, Nolan will one day speak. The Bible assures us of that. Whether it happens this year (which we celebrate many new gains over the past months) or one day in eternity, his tongue will work. As parents, we hold this promise dearly with excitement.
When our mom was in a critical car accident on January 8th this year and spent 6 months in critical condition on ventilators the following verse came to life a little more clearly:
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” -Psalm 150:6
I know a few people in my life that are struggling with sins, addictions, or deep depressions that have physically and/or mentally locked them down for a long time. If you or someone you know is brokenhearted and/or quite fatigued I would encourage you that God is no stranger to your pain and He can and will forgive any sin, heal any broken heart, and guide through life’s deepest valley:
Unbelievable Sins forgiven: The sinner on the cross next to Jesus (Luke 23:42)
…And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Mental anguish: Legion Being Freed (Portions of Mark 5)
…”And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.”
And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind…”
Deep Depression: David’s Depression, Praying in Patience
“…I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.”
Perhaps you know someone struggling with a terminal diagnosis where healing doesn’t look possible…
“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?…
…For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.” -1 Corinthians 15:12 & 16
The reason there is JOY in Christmas is that Christ came, lived perfectly yet died in humility carrying our shame and sin, and conquered death in his resurrection–a Savior! There is hope for complete healing beyond the grave for those who believe in Him.
No wonder “Mary treasured up all these things and placed them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
We all should. Jesus Christ IS hope. The treasure that was once awaited is now risen from the dead! There is no sorrow, no sin, and no shame that He cannot heal.