A Place to Lay His Head
When all persons of the house of David were thus driven to Bethlehem, the scanty accommodation of the little town would soon be exhausted. Doubtless friends entertained their friends till their houses were all full, but Joseph had no such willing kinsmen in the town. There was the caravanserai, which was provided in every village, where free accommodation was given to travelers; this, too, was full, for coming from a distance and compelled to travel slowly, the humble couple had arrived late in the day. The rooms within the great brick square were already occupied with families; there remained no better lodging, even for a woman in travail, than one of the meaner spaces appropriated to beasts of burden. The stall of the ass was the only place where the child could be born. By hanging a curtain at its front and perhaps tethering the animal on the outer side to block the passage, the needed seclusion could be obtained, and here, in the stable, was the King of Glory born and in this manner was he laid.
The palaces of emperors and the halls of kings afforded the royal stranger no refuge? Alas! my brethren, seldom is there room for Christ in palaces! State chambers, cabinets, throne rooms, and royal palaces are about as little frequented by Christ as the jungles and swamps of India by the cautious traveler. He frequents cottages far more often than regal residences, for there is no room for Jesus Christ in regal halls.
Here is the Son of God made flesh—have you room for him?
But there were senators, there were forums of political discussion, there were the places where the representatives of the people make the laws—was there no room for Christ there? Alas! my brethren, none, and to this day there is very little room for Christ in parliaments. Parties, policies, place-hunters, and pleasure-seekers exclude the Representative of heaven from a place among representatives of Earth.
No Room for Him Here
Might there not be found some room for Christ in what is called good society? Were there not in Bethlehem some people that were very respectable, who kept themselves aloof from the common multitude; persons of reputation and standing—could not they find room for Christ? Ah! dear friends, it is too much the case that there is no room for him in what is called good society. Folly and finery, rank and honor, jewels and glitter, frivolity and fashion, all report that there is no room for Jesus in their abodes.
But is there not room for him on the exchange? Cannot he be taken to the marts of commerce? Here are the shopkeepers of a shopkeeping nation—is there not room for Christ here? Ah! dear friends, how little of the spirit, and life, and doctrine of Christ can be found here! Bankruptcies, swindlings, and frauds are so abundant that in hosts of cases there is no room for Jesus in the mart or the shop.
Then there are the schools of the philosophers, surely they will entertain him. No, dear friends, but it is not so; there is very little room for Christ in colleges and universities, very little room for him in the seats of learning. A few with splendid talents, a few of the erudite and profound have bowed like children at the feet of the Babe of Bethlehem and have been honored in bowing there, but too many, conscious of their knowledge, stiff and stern in their conceit of wisdom, have said, “Who is Christ, that we should acknowledge him?”
But there was surely one place where he could go—it was the Sanhedrin, where the elders sit. Or could he not be housed in the priestly chamber where the priests assemble with the Levites? Was there not room for him in the temple or the synagogue? No, he found no shelter there; it was there, his whole life long, that he found his most ferocious enemies. There is no room for him where his name is chanted in solemn hymns and his image lifted up amid smoke of incense. Go where ye will, and there is no space for the Prince of peace but with the humble and contrite spirits which by grace he prepares to yield him shelter.
As the palace, and the forum, and the inn, have no room for Christ, and as the places of public resort have none, have you room for Christ?
The Time Has Come
“Well,” says one, “I have room for him, but I am not worthy that he should come to me.” Ah! I did not ask about worthiness; have you room for him? “Oh! but I feel it is a place not at all fit for Christ!” Nor was the manger a place fit for him, and yet there was he laid. "Oh! but I have been such a sinner; I feel as if my heart had been a den of beasts and devils!” Well, the manger had been a place where beasts had fed. Have you room for him? Never mind what the past has been; he can forget and forgive. It mattereth not what even the present state may be if thou mournest it. If thou hast but room for Christ he will come and be thy guest.
Do not say, I pray you, “I hope I shall have room for him”; the time is come that he shall be born; Mary cannot wait months and years. Oh! sinner, if thou hast room for him let him be born in thy soul today. “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. . . ” (Heb. 3:7–8). “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Room for Jesus! Room for Jesus now!
“Oh!” saith one, “I have room for him, but will he come?” Will he come indeed! Do you but set the door of your heart open, do but say, “Jesus, Master, all unworthy and unclean I look to thee; come, lodge within my heart,” and he will come to thee, and he will cleanse the manger of thy heart, nay, will transform it into a golden throne, and there he will sit and reign for ever and for ever.
Our Hearts Are Ready
My Master wants room! Room for him! Room for him! I, his herald, cry aloud, Room for the Savior! Room! Here is my royal Master—have you room for him? Here is the Son of God made flesh—have you room for him? Here is he who can forgive all sin—have you room for him? Here is he who can take you up out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay—have you room for him? Here is he who when he cometh in will never go out again, but abide with you forever to make your heart a heaven of joy and bliss for you—have you room for him?
‘Tis all I ask. Your emptiness, your nothingness, your want of feeling, your want of goodness, your want of grace—all these will be but room for him. Have you room for him? Oh! Spirit of God, lead many to say, “Yes, my heart is ready.” Ah! then he will come and dwell with you.
This article is adapted from Come Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas edited by Nancy Guthrie, originally adapted from “No Room for Christ in the Inn,” sermon (485) by C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, December 21, 1862. In Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 8.
Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.
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