|‘Sorry! No room at THIS inn!’|
It amazes me how a mere Infant can so terrorize one group of people while others look on in awe. Truly, whether biblically literate or not, the first group so fears the ‘wrath of the Lamb’ that they can’t bear the mention even of His Name, let alone His Title—Christ. I cannot count how many times in the last few days was my ‘Merry Christmas!’ responded to with a ‘Happy holidays!’ from faces whose forceful (and pitiful) lack of happiness made absolutely certain that I stood corrected for my obscenity.
You see, I live in a place where the name of Jesus Christ is regarded not only as an impropriety, but an obscenity—except, of course, when political correctness demands that people swallow their superiority and patronize the ignorant rabble that believe in ‘that Man,’ and count me one of them. Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or weep. Laugh that they could be so blind to the Christ who is wandering, infinite gifts in hand, among them, or weep that He wanders, homeless and ‘rejected of men.’
It would be easy to chalk these up to being just more examples of the ‘culture war’ that has enveloped my neighborhood along with Western civilization, but it is not really a confrontation between the secular and the Christian. No, it is much deeper. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, agnostics have all returned my ‘Merry Christmas.’ It’s not about religion. The confrontation is between the literate and the illiterate, between those who want to understand, and those who don’t. Religion is just a scapegoat.
The Man whose birth Christians celebrate on the twenty-fifth of December, whether or not He is regarded as a good man, a prophet, the Son of God, God Himself, or even whether He actually ever existed at all, He has had an impact on the human world, even on the individual, believer or non-believer. The very years we number, we count from His supposed birth, that day when He was born, unknown, unnoticed, even unwelcome. So, nothing has changed. Google’s inn still has no room.
It’s not a Christmas carol, but a hymn that comes to me in this time which marks the moment of His extreme need, when within His holy Mother’s womb He squirmed and kicked to be set free, yet was given no place to lay His head. This hymn might sound threatening to those people imprisoned in their correctnesses, but it is a great comfort because of the tenderness of the God who was, who is, and who is to come, who holds out infinite love and welcome, even to those who despise and reject Him.
At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess Him King of glory now;
’Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call Him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.
Humbled for a season, to receive a name
From the lips of sinners unto whom He came,
Faithfully He bore it, spotless to the last,
Brought it back victorious when from death He passed.
Bore it up triumphant with its human light,
Through all ranks of creatures, to the central height,
To the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast;
Filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.
In your hearts enthrone Him; there let Him subdue
All that is not holy, all that is not true;
Crown Him as your captain in temptation’s hour;
Let His will enfold you in its light and power.
Brothers, this Lord Jesus shall return again,
With His Father’s glory, o’er the earth to reign;
All the wreaths of empire meet upon His brow,
And our hearts confess Him King of glory now.