One such story is told about the night of the Children’s Christmas Play at a small church. They didn’t have an outstanding sound system, or great lighting. And their drama set left much to be desired. However, they had rehearsed diligently for the special presentation and were ready to tell the story of Christmas.
The four and five-year-olds were first on the program. Little Joseph and Mary, dressed in their older brother’s and sister’s bathrobes, came down the aisle. On the platform a large door had been placed to represent the entrance of the Bethlehem Inn.
Little Joseph, as he had rehearsed his part, stepped up to the door and knocked as hard as he could. Momentarily, the door opened and another little boy representing the Innkeeper said, “Can I help you?”
Joseph politely replied, “You sure can. We need a room.” Right on cue, the Innkeeper responded, “Sorry, there’s no room in the inn,” and slammed the door shut. Even though the audience knew the story, the slamming of the door was a harsh shock. How can you slam the door on a man whose wife is in that condition?
As instructed, Joseph knocked a second time. Again the door opened and Joseph said, “My ‘gespoused wife’ (you don’t always get the pronunciation right at five years of age) needs a room.” Again the Innkeeper said, “Sorry, no room in the inn,” and slammed the door shut.
At this point, Joseph and Mary were supposed to go to the stable. But little Joseph had done some rehearsing on his own. Going off-script he knocked on the door a third time. This wasn’t supposed to happen. After a prolonged pause, the door slowly opened and a surprised Innkeeper looked out. With all the force a five-year-old can muster, Joseph said, “My wife is going to have a baby and we need a room right now!”
The little Innkeeper didn’t know what to do. He looked for guidance, but none was to be found. Turning back to Joseph and Mary, he said with a note of hesitation, “I’m not supposed to do this but, oh well, come on in!”
Now, I don’t know how they got to the stable and the manger from there, but when I came across this story I thought to myself, “Why not?” For over two-thousand years we have been slamming the door shut, relegating the Christmas story to the stable. I encourage you to go off-script this year and invite Christmas to happen in your heart.
It isn’t Joseph knocking at the door of the Innkeeper. It’s Jesus knocking on the door of your heart. We know what the Innkeeper did. Rewrite the story. Open the door and invite Jesus to “Come on in!”
Pastor Todd Weston