No Room

Erin Petersen Blog

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. (Luke 2: 4-7)

A blizzard baby

I am a mother of three children, and each of them had their own unique birth story. I vividly remember my first labor experience. It was the evening of March 1, 2009, and we lived in Baltimore city. There was an unusual blizzard that day, and it just happened to be the day that I had gone into labor. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew something was happening. As a first-time mom you always question when is the RIGHT time to head to the hospital. Well, this was my first time, and I didn’t know how long it would take us to even get to the hospital in that kind of weather.

So we loaded my big self into our four-wheel drive truck and headed to the hospital. The roads were bad, but come hell or high water, I was NOT going to give birth to my child in a truck. So eventually we get to the hospital and made our way up to the maternity ward to get evaluated and check in.

The nurse examined me, and then said she would be back in a few minutes. We waited, and eventually the she returns and these dreaded words came out of her mouth “You’re not far enough along in your laboring so go home and come back in awhile when you have progressed more.”

Come again?

What did you just say to this 40-week pregnant woman who just traveled through a blizzard to get to the hospital? She confirmed that I was indeed in labor, but there are no beds open, and I wasn’t far enough along. Does she not know who I am (clearly a nobody)? Does she not know that I am carrying Harper Lee in my belly (no, not the famous one, but that’s besides the point)?

I was livid. I was sad. I was frustrated. I cried. Could they not squeeze in this one woman amidst the circumstances? So, back we went through the snow and ice to our home… for 45 whole minutes. I could hold out no longer. We ventured, yet again, through the wintry mix back to the hospital up to the maternity ward only to come face to face with the same nurse. She looked at me and shook her head in disbelief that I hadn’t listened to her the first go round. I pleasantly (okay, that’s a lie) requested that I have a different nurse this time. I was quickly examined by Nurse #2 who immediately requested that I be put into a room because I was “ready.” As I left the room, I glanced at my old friend Nurse #1 and said, “I guess I progressed quickly, huh?” with a snarky little wink and made my way to my new, vacant, and ready room.

Turned away

Rewind about 2000 years ago, and Mary was on her not-so-pleasant journey to Bethlehem (riding on a donkey pregnant? No thank you) about to give birth. Was there room for her? No. Mary had been turned away. So Mary gave birth among the animals. She wasn’t given a bed to lie in. The baby was laid in a manger. It wasn’t the most sanitary place to give birth to ANY baby let alone the Savior of the world. Surely they could have found a room somewhere, right?

God has a sense of humor, doesn’t He? The One who came to save us was turned away from the start. He was born in the most lowly, humble way possible. What we know now they did not know then. Would they have made room had they known whom Mary had in her belly? We know who He was and what He was going to do.

Do we have room?

Christmas season is full of lights, of Christmas movies, of presents, of trees, and if your family is anything like mine it can be full of chaos as well. There are lists for addresses to send cards to, lists for naughty and nice, grocery lists, but does Jesus make your list?

Do you make room for Jesus in your life right now? Do you open the door for Him? You KNOW who He is and what He has done for you, but do you shut Him out? The King of the world is knocking. Will you make room for Him?

I was frustrated and angry when I was turned away 10 years ago. I wonder what Mary’s attitude was when she realized where her newborn would experience His first crying breaths. I take comfort in the reality that Jesus came so humbly, that He was sent to us to save us. That He left His heavenly lodging and was laid in a manger. Ultimately, He doesn’t desire to live in a manger but in the hearts of all those who make room for Him.

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room”