Devotional for December 22, 2021

There is no recorded podcast this week and December 29.
Please join us as we celebrate Season Two of the podcast on Wednesday, January 5. All the Desert Spring Church staff will take part in a special episode!

Pastor David’s devotional for December 22, 2021

Luke 2:6-7
6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Many years ago, I came across a sermon written by Fredrich Buechner entitled “Innkeeper.” A few years later, I rewrote his sermon, taking some of his words and ideas, adding some of my own, creating a devotional under the same name: “Innkeeper.” We know that the Biblical story never mentions an innkeeper, and that an “inn” in those days was just a guest room in a home. So, as you read the devotional, don’t get confused by the innkeeper—I made him up! The point of the story has to do with our lives, and its message seems especially important when life is busy—like now. So, enjoy the story!

It’s only been a short time, but it seems like an eternity since that all to ordinary, yet miraculous night. Ordinary: people coming and going, needing a room or a meal. Faceless people, with coins in hand. Miraculous—maybe it was the sounds, the wind, the breathing—an excitement in the air, an unseen excitement building, growing—you could feel it, something was about to happen.

I remember the events of that night: “No room, no room,” that’s what I said. Do you know what it is like to run an inn, with people coming and going all night? “No room” soon becomes easy words to say. “No room—so what!” Do you know what it is like to run an inn to run a business, a family, to run anything in this world for that matter, even to run you own life? It is like being lost in a forest of a million trees, and each tree is something that has to be done. Are there fresh linens on the beds? Eggs for the guests in the morning? Wood for the fire? Did the children put on their coats before they went out? Did we pay the bills? Wash the dishes? Mop the floors? Is there money enough left in the bank? Today we have food in our bellies and clothes on our backs, but what about tomorrow? A million trees. A million trees! A million things to be done!

Until finally we have eyes for nothing else, and whatever we see turns into yet another tree, another thing to be done. The sparrow lying in the dust at your feet—just a thing to be kicked out of the way, not the mystery of life and death. The cry of a newborn baby—just a distraction, or worse yet an irritation, not life—not the wildest miracle of them all. And that whisper in the air, that comes sudden and soft from nowhere—only the wind, only the wind, only the wind…

I remember very well the evening they arrived. I was working at the front desk, making sure the accounts were balanced when they walked through the front door. She walked slowly, heavy footed, obviously tired, the way a woman walks when she is in her last days of pregnancy, as though they are working in a dream, or on the bottom of the sea. Her husband stood a little behind her—tongue tied, nervous, an uncertain looking man who seemed to have no clue about that was really happening. I remember my dog suddenly became very excited, “the dog never acts that way” I thought to myself. I remember the light. The stars must have shown bright that night because light shown in through the door where they stood. And I remember they didn’t speak, at least no words beyond “Do you have room for us?” Silence, that’s what I remember most, silence—an almost holy hush—silence. What happened next everyone knows. “No room,” I said. “No room in the inn.” They left quietly and I went back to balancing the books.

Later that night, when the baby came, I was not there. I was lost in a forest somewhere, in a forest of a million trees. Is the coffee on? Bring in the wood and bring in plenty! In my mind, thoughts ran through: “If the fire goes out the heart freezes,” “Only the wind—it’s just the wind,” “It sure is cold in here.” I remember. There was something about that night that makes it hard to forget.

When the baby came, I was nowhere to be found. I saw none of it. As for what I heard, just at that moment of birth when nobody becomes somebody, I don’t know what I heard—maybe just the wind. But this I do know. All my life I waited for true love to come, we all do, we wait for our destiny, we wait for our joy, we wait for our hearts desire, we wait for love to come. And that night, when he came, I missed him. I missed him.

Pray for the innkeepers of this world, for busy people who get lost in the busyness of life. Pray that there will be room—room in the heart for the One who comes to us. Pray for each other, that this night you will see your way clear of the forest of a million trees, that the ordinary becomes the miraculous, that the silent hush of the wind becomes the sound of angel’s wings, that the excitement of this night be known to you, that there be room in your heart, for the holy One does come. Don’t miss him.

God bless you and Merry Christmas,
Pastor Dave