No room at the inn. Was it mere coincidence or sheer irony that we as a Christian family living in Israel were facing this very issue at this most wonderful time of the year?
No room. That was the response some 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, not far from where we live in Jerusalem, that Miriam and Yosef (better known as Mary and Joseph) encountered when they were looking for a place to sleep, plus give birth.
Fast forward to now. We live in Israel and our three children attend Israeli schools. We have no problem with our children learning the “Jewish” holidays. They are the Lord’s feasts, as He said, and they are very much a part of our Bible and our faith as Christians.
Realistically speaking though, we are somewhat limited when it comes to schools. Sure, our children can attend secular Israeli schools, but perhaps not religious ones. And so when one of our babes had to transfer to a new gan (preschool) we began to feel the squeeze.
With the help of a Ministry of Education counsellor, we have been looking for a new place for him for about a month. However, we have repeatedly heard these words: Ein makom. There is no room.
As wonderful as our neighborhood gan is, our son was struggling. He was the youngest by months of a mixed-age school with disproportionately more kindergarteners (17) vs. preschoolers (6).
Yet, despite having an advocate from the Ministry of Education, and despite being in the capital city of Israel, it took a month to find one suitable school in all of Jerusalem.
Being the holiday season, I thought of the holy family, sojourning across the rugged terrain of the Middle East and then, “in the fullness of time” (aka: 9 months pregnant and in labor), the only place they found as a delivery room was a stable.
I know, His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9), but…
A stable in which to give birth to the Messiah? Would God allow that?
I wondered what makes us any more worthy in our pursuits. If no acceptable space was offered to the Son of God, if he was not welcomed anywhere else but in a stable, who am I to expect more?
And yet, redemption was born nevertheless. Both to the world 2000 years ago and yet again now, to us. With open arms, one of the city’s exclusive schools offered us a meeting this week and then a spot for our child. For us, a Christmas miracle and a joyous end to an emotionally draining journey. It was worth the wait and we have much for which to be thankful.
Redemption is still born in Israel today. And it is worth every step on the arduous journey for its joyous arrival.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.