No Room at the Inn

I trust that if one of us says something the other doesn’t understand,
we can just ask.

I’m very excited about having a deeper relationship
and promise not to weird-out.
I trust that if one of us says something the other doesn’t understand,
we can just ask.

~ full quote by Ruth Andrews~


Setting: USA

Mika was happy; Chrissy had invited him for Christmas. He’d been a soldier, joined a war and returned home physically unscathed, but was an emotional and mental wreck. He witnessed more than he’d bargained for; violence, greed, poverty, starvation, and the worst part, killing. Killing that he had participated in. Now his life felt meaningless.

Chrissy’s relatives invited her for Christmas dinner, which she accepted. Excitedly she informed them that Mika would also come.

“Who’s Mika? This is a family occasion.”

Chrissy explained that Mika, an ex-soldier, was a close friend who needed security, love and reassurance. How could she not invite him for Christmas? But she heard only a resounding No. “He is not family. It’s a family occasion. The table is already full.”

“Just squeeze him in beside me. I’ll look after him,” begged Chrissy.

“The table only seats eight. Our Christmas dinner plates are eight and Grandma is bringing desert for eight. How can we ask Grandma to do extra cooking?”

Chrissy was stunned that anyone could deny being family to someone so lonely and needy of love. They even had the nerve to suggest the food might be compromised! Was there anything to say to her family that wouldn’t offend them further?

“Chrissy, how can you take advantage of your invitation to invite whoever else you like?”

Chrissy tripped over the words in her head, searching for a way to reason with them, only to discover the answer was not in her head, but her heart.

Chrissy stayed home that Christmas and cooked a special meal, just for Mika.


Setting: Village India

I had just arrived home after walking across the rocky fields and dry riverbed. It had been another long day of teaching and running our school. It was hot and I was looking forward to getting out of my sari. As I hoisted my 1-year-old on my hip, I looked out the window. I saw a very unusual sight: A foreigner!

He walked past, but soon another stranger followed him, then another, and another … how many were there? Unused to heat and unusually red in the face, they were seemingly trying to strip down as far as possible—wearing shorts and undershirts that were culturally questionable. I stepped outside and the parade of foreigners froze. They stared at me. One man approached. He pointed at me and in halting English said, “Ken McRae?”

I pointed back at myself. “Frieda McRae.”

Surprise spread over his face as he realized I was not Indian and understood English. “We are looking for you. We’ve come to help you.” The men surrounded me, about twelve in all, sunburned and soaked in sweat. Now it was my turn to be surprised. Having heard about us from a friend, they had traveled from Scotland! I invited them in, turned on the fan, and went to find Ken.

It was mid-afternoon. Ken was bushed after a day of working in the field. When I told him about our sudden visitors his face fell. How would we ever find time in our full schedules to accommodate and feed twelve more people? We were too exhausted to even manage help! He decided we’d give them lunch and immediately drive them back to their hotel in the city. So, after lunch and as they were climbing into our van, Ken asked, “What kind of work do you do?”

One by one they answered. A welder, an electrician, a mechanic, a carpenter, an architect, a mason, and down the list it went. Every man possessed skills we desperately needed. And what were we doing? Piling them into a bus to get rid of them. Their skills were exactly what we needed.

Ken about-faced. “Wait! If you’d like to stay and help us, we have plenty for you to do!” Broad grins appeared and they put their bags down.

Help had come in the form of Scottish angels.


Setting: Bethlehem

Mary, nine months pregnant, plagued by thirst and exhaustion, rode a donkey for ninety grueling miles. It’s no wonder she was ready to give birth when she and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem. Joseph must have searched madly, pleading a place for Mary to rest. There was no room at the inn, and no villager was willing to open their home to a woman about to give birth. At last, someone understood their predicament and took pity. “If you’d like to rest in my barn, please help yourself.”

The villagers in Bethlehem missed their opportunity to host the entrance of the Son of God into the world. Instead of scooting over and offering space, they shut their doors. Had they opened their arms to Mary and Joseph, what an unfathomable part of history would have been theirs.

Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests,
because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2

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