by Rob Dunne
Stale recycled air filled her twenty year old lungs. Soaring through the air at five hundred miles-per-hour added to the weight of her third trimester pregnancy. The seatbelt sat uselessly on the cushioned seat bearing only the secondary benefit as a flotation device. Trips to the bathroom were a regular occurrence as the growing infant rested once again on her swollen bladder.
All of the inconveniences of travel would not prevent my then pregnant mother from getting to Thailand to visit my father serving in Viet Nam. Every difficulty endured was well worth the love of his embrace.
Mary made an even more difficult journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Rather than recycled air, her lungs tasted the dust of the Palestinian roads. Her seat was likely the firm back of a donkey and her frequent bathroom breaks occurred behind cramped bramble-filled bushes. Certainly not a journey for the fainthearted.
Upon their arrival, the innkeeper told Mary and Joseph that there was no room for them in the inn. Their only option was a stable holding the animals. Jesus’ newborn head did not rest in a cradle from Pottery Barn but in the manger used to feed barn animals.
The innkeeper clearly lacked a sense of compassion. I am certain Joseph said his wife was about to give birth. While there may have been no rooms for rent, he could have offered his own room to the young couple. Yet the innkeeper sent them out back to the barn. What on earth was he thinking?
The innkeeper missed out big time. He blew an opportunity to show love and compassion to a couple in need. Most importantly, God gave him the chance to be one of the first people to see the Messiah. Following the birth, he surely questioned why shepherds were visiting the young family. Certainly, the wise men from the east must have raised his eyebrow. Perhaps the bright star hovering over the stable gave him a clue that there was something special about this family.
As we begin the New Year, we need to watch for Godportunities. Almost daily, we are given the chance to show someone compassion. Hurting people respond when others love them. Don’t be like the compassionless innkeeper. Keep your eyes open for Godportunities. Who knows, God may have something amazing in store for you!
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