This week we had Christmas with those we serve that are living at the extended stay hotel. A local restaurant catered the meal. Some of their employees volunteered their time to come serve. Have I mentioned it was pouring down rain? About 60 people lined up along the covered sidewalk for a chance to enter the room where the dinner would be served. I think we were all worried if there would be enough food. We were not the first to have that concern!
After each person got their plate, they entered another room where we set up tables for them to sit down and eat. 60 people do not fit into one small hotel room! About 20 were around tables, others were on a couch, some on the floor and others were sitting along the brick window ledge outside . Did I mention it was pouring rain? It was a breeding ground for complaints, but none came. There was no room. Everyone was very gracious for the meal and the time to spend with others. It was special. Did I mention there was plenty left over!
At the end of the night we gave out gifts to adults and children. Now these were not expensive gifts (according to market value) but each one was given, packed and wrapped with love. It was a great night.
It was a great night, but as I left I questioned how it went. Did we do it right? Did we share Jesus? After all, we didn’t have room for a sit down presentation. Did they just come out for the food and the gifts? Did we show them who Jesus is and move them any closer to Him?
As we have been blessed with the responsibility of this ministry, I have asked God to help me always look to Jesus and His life and ministry as my example. It didn’t take me long to have my answer about the night, especially this time of year. When Jesus came to earth, there was no room. Not an ideal situation but He came anyway. He came not as a King should but He came anyway. He served and gave of His time and many rejected Him, but He gave and He served anyway.
So, as I reflect back on this night and I think about those small crowded rooms, I think the Lord was pleased. I think the rooms were filled with more than food, tables, and people. I think the rooms were filled with the love of Jesus and because of that… there was no room for anything else!
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. Luke 2:6-7
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8