Leadership Blog

No Room for Them in the Inn

Posted by Chip Robinson on

The physician-turned-historian Luke wrote the most well-known of the accounts of Jesus's birth. If you have spent any time at all in a church around Christmas time (or even if you've watched Charlie Brown Christmas) you have likely heard Luke 2:1-20 read aloud and perhaps even remember verse 7, "And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."

Joseph is a pretty sympathetic figure in the birth narrative. Can you imagine how his year had gone? First he finds out his fiancée (who is a virgin, mind you) is pregnant. Then the occupying foreign power (Rome) demands he travel to his ancestral hometown to be registered (i.e. sign up to be taxed). Then, once they get there they find there is, "no room for them in the Inn." I don't know about you, but I would be in a seriously sour mood!

I doubt Joseph could have conceived of the reality that 2,000+ years later people all over the world would recreate that night's scene during church plays, and on their mantles, dining room tables, and front yards. No, I imagine Joseph was just feeling pretty inconvenienced, maybe disappointed, and perhaps more than a little frustrated.

I thought about Joseph this week as I explained to person after person about how King's Cross Church wouldn't be having services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. See, all Charleston County School facilities are closed on Christmas (as, by the way, they should be; it is important for CCSD employees to be able to be with their families at Christmas). I resonated this week, to some small degree, with Joseph's sense of displacement. Our church doesn't have a "home" yet, and when we do gather on Sundays we do so just outside the part of the city we want to be in long term. And so, perhaps for the first time in my life, what has jumped out of the Luke 2 passage to me was the little detail, "...there was no place for them in the inn." 

And yet, unlike Joseph so many years ago, I know what happened after Luke 2. I know that God was doing something glorious. His plan was perfectly on track. God wasn't caught off guard by the lack of accommodations for his Son's birth; He wasn't scrambling for Plan B.

And the same is true for our Church. God is not concerned that we're "missing" a Sunday morning. He isn't frustrated with CCSD. God's plans for King's Cross are perfectly on track. He knows exactly where we will be this time next year, and exactly who will be a part of our church in December of 2017. He knows how many lives will be changed, how many marriages will be saved, how many people will hear and understand the gospel for the first time. He knows how many babies will be born, adopted, and fostered by members of our Church. He knows how many funerals our pastors will preside over. He knows how many baptisms we will celebrate, and how many parents we will commission. He knows which countries we will visit to support missionaries, and in which cities we will support new church plants.

God was doing something glorious that night in Bethlehem. And He is doing something glorious in and through King's Cross Church right now. How can I be so sure? Because I believe the same power that was at work that night in Bethlehem is at work in the world today! And I believe God is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine!

So, how about you? Are you feeling a bit displaced this Christmas? Feeling like there's no room for you at the metaphorical "inn"? Maybe you're feeling inconvenienced, disappointed, or even frustrated with the way things are going? Can I speak light, and hope, and peace into that place? Friends, Christmas is a reminder that God is always at work, often in the smallest of details!

So, I'll rest easy on Christmas morning knowing that I'm not the first follower of God to be displaced and I won't be the last. But I'll rest with an eager expectation and longing to see what comes next knowing that God is working to glorify himself in my life, in our church, across our city, and around the world!

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Merry Christmas,



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