During the 1970s, I travelled extensively for the company for which I worked. Usually, I could count on my reserved room being ready and waiting when I arrived. But this was not always the case. One of the most memorable times was a trip to Damascus, Syria, in October 1973. After a long flight, I arrived at the hotel at about midnight, tired and worn out, only to find that there was no room for me, even though I had the telex confirmation in my briefcase. Imagine the sinking feeling that I got, the feeling of disbelief, to be in a strange city in a strange country, at the wee hours of the morning, having no place to stay. I had a long discussion with the clerk at the desk, but all to no avail. There were a few guests in the lobby, and a gentleman from Denmark overheard our conversation. He told me that he had a room with two beds in it, and I could use the spare bed. We talked to the clerk, and he said that that was fine. My host left early in the morning, and I stayed in that room for the rest of my time in that city.
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.” (Luke 2:1,4-5 NKJV)
After the long walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary looked for a place to sleep, and they found an inn. Finally, they would be able to lie down and rest — at least that’s what they thought. But there was no room for them. They would have had that same sinking feeling while they pleaded for a place, any place, to spend the night. The innkeeper told them that they could stay in the stable, if they were so inclined. There, I imagine, Joseph made a bed of straw for himself and his tired wife, and then, there in that place, the Messiah was born.
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7 NKJV)
There are times in our lives when we face uncertain situations, times when we are bogged down by the things happening all around us — like an illness or a death in the family. We might be isolated and lonely, or even surrounded by people, and yet lonely. Some of us struggle financially or have to cope with the problems of old age. We have that sinking feeling at times — and yet, we are reminded of Christ’s promise to strengthen us to do all things.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You that when we feel unable to cope with the things happening or not happening around us, You will give us the strength to carry on. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Meaford, Ontario, Canada
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission