No Room at the Inn

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"No room at the inn" by Ellen Mongan (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2016), CC0/PD

Do you remember the day you birthed your firstborn baby? I remember every detail vividly, as if it was yesterday. When my water bag broke, I was excited yet apprehensive. As my labor progressed, the pain was intense; all I could think about was getting to the hospital on time. Doctor Pat, my husband, with the speed of a race-car driver, successfully arrived at Alachua General Hospital just in time for our bouncing baby boy, Tyler Patrick William to be birthed. I was relieved and elated. My motherhood journey had begun.

What about the Blessed Mother’s journey into motherhood? As I reflect on Mary in early labor, the scene is quite different. She too is getting ready to deliver her firstborn baby boy, but her husband, Joseph, is not speeding to the hospital in a car. Rather, he is leading a donkey with his pregnant wife on it and of course there is no hospital in sight. Mary and Joseph do not even have a reservation at the nearest inn. Sadly, Joseph found there were no rooms available anywhere. At each door Joseph knocked on the response was the same: “So sorry, we are full.” Poor Mary and Joseph had nowhere to go. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, was met with a No Vacancy sign before He even took His first breath.

I wonder if Mary felt as helpless as I would have. Delivering a baby has a way of making a woman feel vulnerable, helpless, and frightened. Did Joseph bring her comfort? Did having someone at her side ease Mary’s fears? Did Mary turn her heart to God? I wonder what Mary prayed? Did she lean back on her Heavenly Father’s arms of love, or feel forsaken? I wonder if Joseph felt helpless in protecting and providing for his family. Did he turn his heart to God or feel forsaken? Did he cry out, “Why me?”

Life is often unpredictable. There are times when the unexpected happens. There are days when the rug comes out from under our feet. We want to cry out, “Why me?” We may feel vulnerable, frightened, and alone. Let’s face it: There are times when the door is slammed shut right in our faces!

When difficulty comes our way, we may not know where to go, or whom to turn to. Hopefully, we turn to God in prayer. The answer does not always come the way we expect it. We may even have to wait for our prayers to be answered, a wait that seems way too long. We may feel like giving up altogether. It is times such as these that we need someone to open the door of their heart to support us.

As I reflected on Luke 2, known as the Christmas Story, the words “there was no room at the inn” popped out at me. Think about those words for a minute.

Life gets busy, especially during the Christmas season. We find ourselves over committed, lacking sleep and a hundred emails behind. Our plate is so full of daily life that there is no more room left to fit in another person who needs a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, or a helping hand. Unfortunately, we may be so focused on the preparation that the reason for the season gets lost in the hurried pace.

Are we too busy to care? Caring is opening the door and letting someone in, even if there is no room in your day. God gives us the grace to care for others in need. However, sometimes we need to be willing to stretch, sacrifice, or go without. We sometimes we need to give up our bed, our time, or money? We all know that opening the door to another is not always convenient. We should pray about some ways we can change our schedule so we will always be willing to help if someone needs us. Asking God to help us live our life in such a way that we are always willing to open the door if someone comes a-knocking is a good way to approach the Advent season, even on Christmas Day.

I wonder what the Christmas Story would have looked like if the innkeeper had opened the door and welcomed the Holy Family. Maybe it would have seemed like a sacrifice at the time, but it would have been such a blessing in disguise. What if the innkeeper had given Mary his own bed to birth the Christ Child, the Savior of the world? Oh, what a story he would have been able to tell. What an example of love he would have shown to the world.

When we open the door of our hearts to Jesus, miracles can happen. When we live our lives for Jesus, we become the arms of Christ and a present for others. Any sacrifices made may be blessings in disguise!

Who will Christ Jesus send knocking on your door today? Will you open it?

Lord, give me the grace to see your face in those you send my way. May I always make room for those who knock on my door.


Copyright 2019 Ellen Mongan

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About Author

Ellen Mongan, a Catholic writer and speaker, has been married more than 40 years to Deacon Pat Mongan. They have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. Ellen is a host of WOW Radio Podcasts, a religious columnist for the Augusta Chronicle, and has spoken on both radio and television. She is the founder of Sisters in Christ, Little Pink Dress Ministry, and Women-Fests.

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