Friday, December 21, 2012
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” ~ Luke 2:7
We all have heard the Christmas story many times and are familiar with this account in the Gospel of Luke. It is such a beautiful account of Joseph and Mary, who made the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Shepherds on a hillside received the announcement from angels of the child that was born, and they found him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
I can understand how that happened. The city was filled with people, and everyone had their own agenda. All of these travelers were trying to get into town, register their family, pay the tax, and return home as quickly as possible. Some were wealthy and could pay plenty to stay in a reasonably comfortable room for a night. A wise entrepreneur had to make the most of the situation! After all, he had a family, a business, and maybe employees. Times were hard, and it appeared they may get worse. Taxes were going up and that meant everything was going to cost more. A poor young couple from a place like Nazareth would not even register on the inn keeper’s radar. Besides, they most likely had family living in town or they wouldn’t be in Bethlehem. Mr. Inn Keeper’s attitude was probably, “Find a relative and stay with them, or if you must, there is a stable out back!”
I would love to condemn that inn keeper for his greed and insensitivity. His focus was short-sighted and myopic. His selfishness caused him to care only for himself, his wife and children, his business, and his own interests. This blinded him from the blessing of participating in the greatest moment planned from the beginning of time. Unfortunately, he truly represents all of us if we are not careful, especially this time of year.
Our schedules can get really busy during the Christmas season. Our priorities of family and work are honorable, but can crowd out the truth of Christ and the purpose of His birth as recorded in Luke 19:10: “...for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” We can’t properly celebrate His birth without recognizing Him as Lord and joining in His purpose.
I believe our giving should go beyond those we love to those He loves and gave His life for. There are 1.6 billion people in the world who have not heard the Good News, and 6,400 people groups in the world that have no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They do not glorify Him, nor worship Him. How can we say we love Him and not care about those He loves?
One of the ways we join Him in December at Urbancrest is to receive our Combined Missions Offering. This year our goal is $52,000. 40% of the offering goes to international missions to support the 4800 IMB missionaries around the world. 40% will go to support missionaries and church plants in North America, 10% will stay right here supporting missions in Ohio, and 10% will go to World Hunger.
Have you made room for Him in your life this Christmas? If so, please consider supporting this extremely important offering that reflects the very heart of who Christ is in our lives and why He came into the world. To reach our goal will require all of us to give sacrificially. I hope you will join Linda and me as we give our best gift to the Lord. After all, we are celebrating His birthday, and the salvation of souls was the reason He was born! Join me as we pray and give to reach this $52,000.00 goal.