Is There Room in Your Heart? (Writer's Opinion)
By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – December 24, 2015) -- “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn”—Luke 2:7(KJ21).
With a few exceptions, most babies today enter the world in our country in sanitized surroundings at a hospital. However, over 2,000 years ago, a young couple named Mary and Joseph didn’t have that choice. Expecting the birth of God’s Son, they were even turned away from the inn.
Even if you’ve never read the Bible, the story of Jesus’ birth in a stable is familiar to most. The scene of Christ’s entry into this world was not sanitary. The stable would have been dirty and the smells unappealing. According to scripture, His bed was a wooden feeding trough for animals.
While most nativity displays depict a quaint, pastoral scene, the reality is our Lord Jesus was actually homeless that first Christmas. There was no room at the inn.
About 25 years ago, two friends attending a Christmas party in Camarillo, California, were discussing their varied collection of nativity scenes. As they talked, they realized their vast collections could be used to benefit others, especially the less fortunate. Remembering the first Christmas and the homeless couple expecting the birth of their firstborn Son, they decided it would be appropriate for the proceeds to go to the homeless.
Out of their discussion, “No Room at the Inn,” was born. However, due to family health problems and their busy careers, it was more than 12 years before the two women were able to implement their idea. That first year, the variety of nativities ranged from the very simple, inexpensive ones to the more elaborate and costly. While some were tiny, other displays depicted figures two feet tall or more.
Today the nativity scenes come from a variety of places, including Mexico, Alaska, Germany, Spain, Italy and South America. They’re constructed out of porcelain, clay, wood, metal crystal, cloth, and even seed pods. Since the first “No Room at the Inn” display, over $330,000 has been donated to programs for the homeless in Ventura County. This year alone, more than 1,000 people, representing 53 countries, viewed the 638 versions of that first Christmas.
After a 1999 article about the two women, whose idea sparked the yearly fundraiser, appeared in a national magazine, people from across the country made inquiries about starting their own “No Room at the Inn” displays. According to the group’s website, their mission is to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by focusing on the humble birth of our Savior and to help those for whom there is also “No Room at the Inn,” the homeless.
It’s no mistake that Jesus was born in a stable, surrounded by noisy, smelly animals. His humble beginnings, orchestrated by His Heavenly Father, should be a reminder to us that the King of Kings never sought earthly wealth. His purpose for being is reflected in the simplicity of His holy birth.
There was no room at the inn. Is there room in your heart?
Photo captions: 1) No room at the Inn (http://img.deseretnews.com). 2) Carol Round
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