And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:). To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 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 2:1-7

The nativity story has been relegated into the realm of romantic fairy tales, where the true meaning has been lost because of man’s inability to accept the truth.

There was nothing charming about a young woman forced to give birth in a stable. Being surrounded by the smells of animals was no environment to bring a baby into the world. A manger, more used to the munching of the ox or the donkey, was no place to lay one’s newly born son.

Even less charming, were the circumstances that drove Mary and Joseph to this most unattractive labour ward which was the first nursery for the child Jesus. Not one proprietor in Bethlehem could find a place in their accommodation or in their hearts for a heavily pregnant young woman who was exhausted after a prolonged journey. Desperation brought about by the heartless cruelty of others brought Mary and Joseph to the stable, which would echo with the sounds of the baby’s first cries.

It is this lack of charm that makes the story of Jesus’ birth so real and vivid. We see human nature at its worst in terms of heartless selfishness. We don’t believe fairy tales because they are glossy caricatures taking us out of reality. But this is no glossy caricature. This great moment in world history is marred by those who had no room for the Saviour.

The same human reaction continues to be played out today. Christmas is celebrated, the shops are thronging, the tills are ringing, the presents are wrapped, the delivery vans are travelling, the trees are erected, the lights are flashing, the turkeys are cooked, the families are reunited, the carols are sung BUT Christ receives barely a mention. Tradition has taken over. The fairy tale is more preferable to reality because the reality is but a reflection of our own selfish cruel hearts – no room in the inn.

You have time for many people and events this Christmas BUT have you time for Jesus Christ. Room in your heart for Him?

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