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Day 13 of 28: Prepare Him Room

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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Prepare Him Room

In Luke 2, we witness Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem for a census decreed by Caesar Augustus.

Joseph was required to participate, which led Mary and him to travel into the small town during the last few months of her pregnancy.

Now, this wasn’t a census to count everyone up; it was a way for the Roman Empire to tax these people and make more money.

David Guzik writes, “As Caesar sat in his palace and made his decree, he thought it was the supreme exercise of his will, the ultimate flexing of his muscle. But he was just a tool in God’s hand. God had promised that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and that promise would be fulfilled. So how does one get a young couple from Nazareth down to Bethlehem when they might not be inclined to travel? Simple. Just work through the political ‘savior of the world,’ and use him as a pawn in your plan.”

The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem was about 80 miles. It brings us to the part in the nativity play where the cold and cruel innkeeper turns them away.

BUT HOW?!?!?! How could the innkeeper be so rotten?! 

Let’s reframe this narrative, shall we?

I went a long time, not realizing the inn was likely considered the “it” spot in Bethlehem. Imagine it was the hotel everyone wanted to stay at. This inn would be the first place to run out of space (or reservations) when people came from out of town for some big occasion.

The census, as you can imagine, was a big occasion.

It would be like attempting to book a hotel room in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. It’s not shocking that there were no vacancies at the inn.

I say this because we are often mind-boggled that the innkeeper would turn Mary and Joseph away. We paint this picture in our brains of the two coming in from the cold and begging the innkeeper to take them in. It was likely not surprising to Mary or Joseph that the inn had no availability for them.

And Joseph wasn’t some passive dude hauling his 9-month pregnant wife into Bethlehem only to give birth beside cow poop.

Quite the opposite.

Scholars believe Joseph got himself and Mary to Bethlehem with plenty of time to spare before the birth of Jesus. They also guess that he may have used the census as an excuse to remove Mary from the gossip and slander surrounding her in Nazareth. 

When Joseph picked the stable (it looked more like what we would consider to be a cave), scholars say he was picking a place that, during biblical times, was just as suitable as a room at the inn. He was an upstanding middle-class citizen, and people in the town of Bethlehem likely knew of his lineage coming down from David. This society would not think to discount him or not make room for him.

When Joseph got Mary to that stable, they set up a home.

They made space.

They made themselves comfortable.

They prepared.

They waited on the baby to arrive.

There was room.

There was margin.

Sure, it wasn’t extravagant or what you would typically expect for a king, but two people made space for what was to come.

We have to look at our hearts and ask a tricky question: have I made space this year?

Have you made space this season?

Is there room in your life for Jesus to come in and change everything?

Today’s message is simple but challenging to put into action: We must transform our hearts into little stables.

We must prepare room for him.

We must create a space inside of ourselves to behold the wonder.

If there is no space for Jesus in our lives, how can we expect to feel anything but parched? If we refuse to create a margin for the living waters to flow in our lives, we will only ever be thirsty and tired throughout the rest of December.

Yes, the season is in full swing.

Yes, we are getting there.

But if you look in your heart today and think that something is wrong, and you have made no space for the essential part of this season, then it might be time to shift some things around.

There is still time to make room.

There is still time to clear the space and join in the waiting for a miracle.

Reading

Luke 2:1-5

Steal This Prayer

Dear God, this season is slipping by, and I don’t want to miss the essential parts. Help me to make room in my heart. As we prepare for the birth of Jesus, help me prepare him ample space to spread out and take over.



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In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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