Boxes of Christmas decorations from decades past sit in the Foster’s attic. Dust envelopes them like black on coal. No one dares to go up in the attic to pull them down.
Thomas and Rebecca Foster never got over their son’s divorce. In their minds, it wasn’t supposed to happen. So Christmas isn’t going to happen, at least in their house. Christmas music isn’t played. The only thing they put on during the holidays is a perennial frown.
But, their daughter loves Christmas. Rebecca eventually gave Christy their decorations, which she eagerly hung in her house. However, her parents bitterness tries to freeze her spirit each time they visit during the holidays. Their refusal to bury the past hurts Christy, unbeknownst to her parents.
In their heart, there is no room for the Christ of Christmas. They made no room in the inn of their soul for God.
Author, Frederick Buechner, provides a fictional account of what it might have been like for the innkeeper the night Joseph and Mary looked for a place to birth Jesus. From Secrets in the Dark:
“Of course I remember very well the evening they arrived. I was working on my accounts and looked up just in time to see the woman coming through the door. She walked in that slow, heavy-footed way that women have in the last months, as though they are walking in a dream or at the bottom of the sea. Her husband stood a little behind her–a tongue-tied, helpless kind of man, I thought. I cannot remember either of them saying anything, although I suppose some words must have passed. But at least it was mostly silence. The clumsy silence of the poor. You know what I mean. It was clear enough what they wanted.”
But Luke tells us there was no guest room available in the inn. (2:7b, NIV) So Jesus was put in a dirty feeding trough used for animals.
Maybe you’re thinking, “My heart isn’t safe. It’s dirty, and full of hurt from the past that gnaws at me like a piranha.” “I don’t know if I can believe again.”
We aren’t responsible for the work God’s ‘gonna do in us. He just wants us to let Him in. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…”(Revelation 3:20, NLT)
Buechner provides some closing thoughts. “The child is born in the night–the mother’s exhausted flesh, the father’s face clenched like a fist–and nothing is ever the same again. Nothing is ever the same again for those who believe in God, and nothing is ever the same again for those who do not believe in God either, because once the birth has happened, it is no longer just God whom they have to deny, but it is also this event that they have to deny.”
Since you are the innkeeper of your soul, will you let Jesus in?