We give the innkeeper a hard time every Christmas.
He is the sermon illustration for “not making room for Christ.” But, truthfully, he did make room. He gave Mary the best he could offer. He made room for her in his stable.
Jesus was born in a cave because the other people at the inn wouldn’t “give up” their spot. The innkeeper didn’t expect to serve God that day, but he did.
What They Didn’t Expect
Mary was a virgin, planning to be a bride. She didn’t expect to be pregnant before that was even possible. Elizabeth was old and childless. She didn’t expect she would ever be pregnant, but she was. Joseph was a faithful man and didn’t expect the complications that Mary’s child would bring to his life.
The innkeeper didn’t expect a woman in labor would show up asking for a room. Mary didn’t expect to give birth in a cave. The shepherds didn’t expect to see a great light and encounter angels that night. Mary didn’t expect to see those shepherds show up the next morning. Herod didn’t expect the magi would look past him when searching for a king.
John didn’t expect to see Jesus walk up and ask to be baptized. The apostles didn’t expect Jesus to ask them to abandon their plans and follow him. Mary and Martha didn’t expect Jesus to arrive, or they would have had the meal ready. The blind man didn’t expect to see, and the paralyzed man didn’t expect to get off his mat and walk.
The Pharisees didn’t expect Jesus to eat with the sinners. The people holding stones in their hands didn’t expect Jesus to write in the sand. Joseph of Arimathea didn’t expect to give his tomb away—and he surely didn’t expect to get it back!
I didn’t expect to find a Bible tract in the park one day that explained how to make Jesus my Lord. I didn’t expect I would marry a preacher. I didn’t expect we would leave our church to begin a ministry. I didn’t expect this life that I lead—and I’m so glad I’m not leading the life I expected.
Expect the Unexpected
I don’t know what to expect of Jesus in 2019. The only expectation I should have is for Jesus to surprise me next year as well.
The Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:11). Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” We have God’s word that He will keep his word, and God’s word tells us to expect the unexpected.
In what ways is Jesus surprising you today? Or is Jesus doing what you have “expected” of him? Is your life filled with your plans or his?
Jesus told his disciples that his second coming would be unexpected. Why, after all these centuries, do people think they can guess when Jesus will return? Why has Jesus chosen to surprise everyone—for centuries?
One of the last things Jesus told his disciples is the same thing he would tell his disciples today. Jesus said, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44). He finished that lesson by teaching his disciples to be “faithful and wise” servants because that is who the Father will bless.
The only time Jesus ever announced his “coming” was the day he rode into Jerusalem to die for our sins. He announced his arrival to ensure his departure. The rest of history is a list of his “unexpected” arrivals. Are you ready for a few surprises in your Christmas holiday? Will you make room for him even if you don’t “have room” in your plans?
I continue to believe that one of the most important things to understand about Jesus is that we cannot understand Jesus. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and these earthly minds of ours can never comprehend his majesty or predict his plans. Our calling is not to understand Jesus; it is to accept him in faith.
The innkeeper made room for Jesus that day—he gave the best he could offer. Jesus will surprise you this Christmas too. Are you prepared to clean up a mess and make a place for him in your holiday?
Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20). Expect him to arrive.
In fact, he’s already at the door.