Don’t Miss Christmas: The innkeeper was distracted, and missed out on a great blessing

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by Jimmy Evans

Merry Christmas from all of us here. It’s been a turbulent year around the world and here in the United States, and I’m so thankful to have a community like this one to encourage one another, pray for each other, and otherwise support this work.

I know you typically come to this space or open these emails hoping for a message about Bible prophecy. Today is a little different—but there is definitely still a connection to the end times.

Have you ever awakened on December 26 and felt a little let down? You might think something like “It seems like the holidays just passed us by!” What happened to the “most wonderful time of the year?” Can it already be over?

I’ve felt that way. Life can be hectic all year long, but December is probably one of the most challenging months on our calendars. There’s shopping and parties and decorating and travel. You might have family guests in your home or meals to prepare. A lot of us get days off from work, but rather than relaxing, we spend those days getting ready, hosting family gatherings, or otherwise doing active things.

Christmas takes a lot of work, and work can distract us from the most important things. We get overwhelmed. We give our attention to the wrong things. We forget what’s important.

When I find myself becoming stressed and distracted during the holidays, I always think about the Christmas story. But maybe not the most obvious part of the Christmas story.

I think about the innkeeper in Bethlehem.

Blessing at the Threshold

We don’t know his name, but we know what he missed. Reading between the lines of the Christmas story in Luke 2, we can imagine what his life was like at the moment he heard a knock at his door. It had been a busy night. The inn was full, so I imagine he had been attending to many travelers.

He might have been a little overwhelmed himself and then suddenly he met this couple, a man and his young wife. She was clearly on the verge of having her baby. They might have seemed a little desperate, but he was probably distracted.

Imagine that brief moment. He opened the door of his inn, and incredible blessing and joy stood right there at his threshold. He could have hosted the birth of the Savior of the world, right there in the inn. The first coming of the savior Jesus Christ was right there in front of him.

Christmas arrived in his life that night.

But the distracted innkeeper wasn’t ready. He hadn’t had time to prepare. He was so busy he missed the birth of Jesus, sending Mary and Joseph to a nearby stable rather than inviting them into his life.

Great blessing, wonder and glory was there for him to experience, but he missed it.

Those Who Listened

Now, contrast the innkeeper with other well-known participants in the Christmas story: the shepherds and the wise men. What was the difference between them and the innkeeper?

The shepherds were paying attention and listening. Out in the fields, these men saw and heard the angelic proclamations, and were quick to obey. They listened and took action:

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.—Luke 2:15-16

Meanwhile, the wise men were seeking God. They also took action, following the “star in the East” in hopes that it might lead them to the newborn King of the Jews. They planned to worship Him, and that’s exactly what they did:

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.—Matthew 2:9-11

Neither the shepherds nor the wise men let their responsibilities or worries prevent them from experiencing what God had in store for them.

They were present rather than being distracted.

They had their eyes open for Jesus, and as a result, they found Him.

The Future or The Present?

We spend a lot of time here at Tipping Point examining events in the present and comparing them to prophecies about our future. We talk about what might happen soon, about what’s coming, about what we can expect as further prophecies are fulfilled. And the Bible gives us a clear picture of the end times.

We are looking forward and eagerly anticipating the Second Coming of Jesus. And that’s a good thing. We should be excited about what awaits us as faithful followers of Jesus.

There’s nothing wrong with imagining the emotional joy of the Rapture, the fellowship of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, or the peace we’ll feel in Heaven in the presence of God.

Those are God’s promises to us and it is good for us to dwell on them.

But I want to encourage you this Christmas season not to let your longing for the future distract you from your experience of Jesus right now, today, in the present.

In other words, don’t be like the innkeeper. He let his own obligations and the urgency of that time of year frazzle him so much that he missed the blessing of Christmas.

So don’t get too busy. Don’t let all the “stuff” of Christmas distract you from its meaning.

But also don’t let your focus on the future keep you from it either. We can easily spend too much time reading about the war in Ukraine, the faltering world economy, the chaos on Elon Musk’s Twitter, and the controversies in our culture. It’s easy for those things to capture our attention.

They might make us angry or frustrated. When that happens, we can easily get distracted or frazzled.

I don’t want you to focus too much on our deteriorating culture that you miss Christmas. I don’t want you longing so much for the Second Coming of Jesus that it distracts you from celebrating His first coming—His joyful arrival in human form.

Yes, Jesus is coming soon, but He is also here today. He is in your heart. His presence is near. He is the Christ child, Emmanuel, “God with us.”

So this Christmas, I hope you’ll remember to keep your eyes on Him.

Don’t be like the innkeeper. Be like the shepherds or the wise men. You can decide today to make Christ a priority this Christmas. When you do, you’ll find a blessing waiting for you, right on your doorstep. It’s Christ the King.

Will you miss Him? Or will you invite Him in?