(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
to his own
the town of David, because he belonged to the house and
line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who
was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to
be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger …
… because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields
nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly
host appeared with the angel, praising God…
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another…
Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph,
and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
When they had seen him, they spread the word
concerning what had been told them about this child…
… and all who heard it were amazed at what the
shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up
all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising
God for all the things they had heard and
seen, which were just as they had been told.
Jesus existed before his birth and was the only one who could have chosen the circumstances of his birth. Yet:
There is no room for him in
the inn (or guest room).
His birth is announced to
shepherds, men of a humble
He is born in the insignificant
town of Bethlehem, not in a
prominent city like Jerusalem.
He is born not in a palace, but
rather in a humble manager,
the feeding trough for animals.
KING OF THE HUMBLE
He is born in a lowly manager to show that:
He is the king of the humble. By being laid in a manger Jesus invites the most humble to approach him. While they might tremble to come before a throne, they are not afraid to come to a manger.
The poor feel an immediate affinity for him because of the circumstances in which
they find him. And so the
humble shepherds are not
afraid to seek out the king
because the angel tells them,
“This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped
in cloths and lying in a
manger.” (Luke 2:12)
He is born in a lowly manager to show that:
He is the king of the poor
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He is born in a lowly manager to show that:
He did not exempt himself from suffering:
Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Maybe you’re alone
seems to have
somewhere to go,
but you’re not
has a house full
of friends and
family, but you’re
alone. Jesus knows
and identifies with
your pain and loneliness. He knew what it was like to be “despised and rejected by men” and not to fit in. There was “no room” for him on that first Christmas.
Maybe you have plenty and you
have a family and friends that
love you, but you know others
who are poor or lonely?
Why not use this as a time to
show God’s love to them?
Luke 14:13-14 “But when
you give a banquet, invite
the poor, the crippled, the
lame, the blind, and you
will be blessed. Although
they cannot repay you,
you will be repaid at the
resurrection of the righteous.”
Luke 2:7 She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The word translated here as “the inn” in the NIV 1984 edition and in many English versions is the Greek word ‘katalymati’.
Now although ‘katalyma’ may be translated as ‘inn’, Luke uses the more common Greek word for inn (pandocheion) in the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:34 … he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn (pandocheion) and took care of him.
The word Luke uses here (katalyma) in Luke 2:7 is the same word he later uses to describe the guest room of the house in which Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples.
Luke 22:11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room (katalyma), where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’
The passage in Luke 22 goes on to indicate that the “guest room” was also an “upper room”:
Luke 22:12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
So the use of the word ‘katalyma’ (‘guestroom’ or ‘inn’) rather than the more common ‘pandocheion’ (‘inn’) seems to better fit what is known of peasant houses from this period. They typically had an upper room for eating and sleeping, with a lower room for animals. This room for animals could even be an adjoining cave. Mangers were often cut into the floor of this room.
In some homes, a ‘guest room’ was built on the flat roof or at the end of the house. It might have been this family guest room that Luke was referring to.
In fact the updated NIV 2011 version now renders Luke 2:7 as follows:
… and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And the International Standard Version:
… and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no place for them in the guest quarters.
And the Expanded Bible renders it:
… and laid him in a ·feeding trough [manger], because there ·were no rooms [was no space/room] left in the ·inn [or guest room (of a private residence); or caravan shelter].
Being a small town Bethlehem may not have even had an inn. And as Bethlehem was the town of Joseph’s ancestors, he most likely had relatives there, so it’s not impossible that he may have tried to stay with relatives, rather than a public inn. On finding the house full, they might have resorted to the shelter of the room used for housing animals, complete with the manger.
So Jesus wasn’t necessarily born in a stable as we understand the term today, or at the back of a public inn. In fact Luke makes no mention of either an innkeeper or a stable.
Nevertheless the point remains that despite being the Son of God, there had been “no room” in either a family guest room or a public inn for Jesus at his birth.
So there was no room for Jesus at his birth.
But there was no room for him even in his death - and so he was buried in a borrowed tomb:
Matt 27:57-60 As evening approached, there came a
rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus… Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock…
And there had been no room for him in his ministry:
Luke 9:58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
In fact when Jesus visited Jerusalem he and his disciples slept on the Mount of Olives, most likely in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Luke 21:37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives…
Sadly the only room Jerusalem had for Jesus was on a cross.
Does our modern world have room for Jesus this Christmas?
Some see Christmas simply as a time
to have drunken parties. This is how
they honour the birth of the Lord.
Others are caught up in the commercialisation of Christmas and see it just as a time for receiving gifts – forgetting the greatest gift of all – God’s gift of his Son.
Others have allowed the purpose of the day that commemorates the birth of our Lord to be forgotten. Jesus’ is usurped by other ‘heroes’. Santa, Rudolph the reindeer, Frosty the snowman and Tiny Tim.
(including our own) have become so secular that they don’t seem to have room for Jesus.
Shop signs wish us a “Merry Xmas” rather than using the word Christmas”, so as not to offend atheists or Muslims.
word makes reference to Christ. In the US, some liberals are protesting against nativity scenes being placed in public, besides objecting against any mention of “Christmas” in the public arena.
G.A. Studdert-Kennedy a pastor in Birmingham, England, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries wrote this poem:
When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet,
and made a Calvary;
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns,
red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days,
and human flesh was cheap.
When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by,
They never hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;
For men had grown more tender,
and they would not give Him pain,
They only just passed down the street,
and left Him in the rain.
Still Jesus cried, “Forgive them,
for they know not what they do,”
And still it rained the wintry rain
that drenched Him through and through;
The crowds went home and left the streets
without a soul to see,
As Jesus crouched against a wall
and cried for Calvary.
Donald E. Wildmon, after quoting this poem, made the comment: “No, we don’t spit in His face. We don’t stab a sword into His side. We don’t stand and mock Him. We don’t do any of those things. We simply ignore him.”
Why was there no room for Jesus on that first Christmas?
Was it because of ignorance? If the innkeeper or the family who had the guestroom knew that the baby was the Son of God, would they have made space?
Was it indifference to the plight of a young woman about to give birth in a room where animals were housed? Was there simply no concern?
Was the innkeeper or family simply too busy attending to other things that seemed more important?
If this was a common practice as some suggest, why would Luke bother to mention it?
And why would the angel give the fact that he is in a manger as “a sign” to the shepherds, if this were the norm even for peasant children?
So this Christmas and indeed in your life in general:
Are you too busy to make room for Jesus?
Or are you indifferent to his claims?
Or are you perhaps ignorant as to how important he really is?
Matt 1:23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.”
Jesus came to our world as a poor peasant baby born in the most humble circumstances. But his prophesied title was ‘Immanuel’ meaning “God with us”.
Are you like those who
were unaware of God’s
visitation – or do you,
like the Magi and the
shepherds, use this as
a time to pay homage
to your king and
When Jesus came as a humble baby in Bethlehem, he had come as our Saviour.
One day he will return as judge and the world will have to make room for him whether they want to or not.
If you haven’t done so already, why not make room for him in your life now, while the open invitation is extended by the coming king?
No Time To Pray (by Monsignor Lawrence Luciana)
I knelt to pray but not for long,
I had too much to do.
I had to hurry and get to work
For bills would soon be due.
So I knelt and said
a hurried prayer,
And jumped up off my knees.
My Christian duty was now done
My soul could rest at ease.
All day long I had no time
To spread a word of cheer.
No time to speak of Christ to friends,
They’d laugh at me I’d fear.
No time, no time, too much to do,
That was my constant cry,
No time to give to souls in need
But at last was time to die.
I went before the Lord,
I came, I stood
with downcast eyes.
For in his hands
God held a book;
It was the book of life.
God looked into
his book and said
“Your name I cannot find.
I once was going to write it down...
But never found the time”
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:
New American Standard Bible®,
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