I love the Nativity story. I picture Joseph as a strong and handsome man who was deeply in love with Mary. I picture Mary as a beautiful and virtuous young woman totally dependent on the goodness of Joseph to protect her and her unborn child. I picture this young mother-to-be sitting on the back of a donkey and traveling for approximately 100 miles from her home to Bethlehem. I see the road they traveled with hills and curves and dust from other travelers going the same direction. I can just imagine how truly miserable she must have felt in her nearly full-term pregnancy for many days and weeks.
I can see Mary exhausted but relieved to know they were nearly at the end of their journey. I can feel her concern as her labor pains were starting to hurt, and there was no place for them. I can see Joseph frantically looking for someplace to take his young wife, going from one inn to another and always receiving the same answer – “No room at the inn.” Can you imagine how Joseph and Mary must have felt? They were exhausted after their long journey. Mary was in labor, expecting to give birth in only a few hours. I probably would have been grumpy or at least murmured, but I know of no such problems with Mary. She apparently was calm, having put her trust in God. I can visualize their gratitude for the opportunity to find privacy and rest in the stable.
My children and I had an experience where there was no room for us. We know what it is like to have no place private to rest. We left Anchorage, Alaska, one July to drive to a family reunion in Utah. It was our first trip down the Alaska Highway since we moved to Alaska more than fifteen years earlier. We drove long days, leaving early in the morning and driving until nearly bedtime. We made no hotel reservations but usually had no problems finding rooms. We had no difficulties at all until we drove into Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We had no reservations and found every room in Calgary filled because the city was holding its annual Calgary Stampede. We had no place to stay, and we could not leave town; we were out of gas and all the gas stations were closed for the night. We must have found dinner somewhere, but I do not remember. I do remember driving around until we found a quiet park where we could sleep for a few hours until we could buy more fuel and get on the road. That was definitely the worst night of the trip!
No room! It was a disappointment for my family, and I am sure it was a disappointment for Mary and Joseph. Heavenly Father watched over my family just as He watched over Mary, Joseph, and the newborn Jesus. I wonder if Mary realized she was being blessed. It would have been absolutely awful for Mary to give birth in a crowded inn with little or no privacy! The visit of the shepherds and their witness of the Christ Child may not have occurred if He had been born anyplace but the stable. I know Heavenly Father blesses each of us, and I know He blessed His Son.
Do you have room in your heart and time in our life for Jesus Christ? I try to keep my doors open to Him and do those things that invite Him to visit. I hope you do also. President Thomas S. Monson noted that the Christmas season is here once again. “Among our resolutions for this year, did we resolve to make time in our lives and room in our hearts for the Savior? No matter how successful we may have been thus far with such a resolution, I am confident we all wish to do better. This Christmas season is the perfect time to examine and renew our efforts.
“In our busy lives, with ever so many other things competing for our attention, it is essential that we make a conscious, committed effort to bring Christ into our lives and into our homes. And it is vital that we, like the Wise Men form the East, remain fixed upon His star and `come to worship him.’”
President Monson is well-known for visiting elderly widows and those living in care centers, especially at Christmas he has done this since he was a young 22-year-old bishop of a ward with many widows. He encourages us to follow his example and do as Christ would do. “There are people waiting for somebody – maybe this Christmas, you can be that somebody.” We can make room in our hearts and time in our lives to help others just as Christ would do!