Friday, December 17, 2010

The Innkeeper’s Out Building

Imagine for a minute...What if Christ came in our lifetime?   

Highway 15 passed through a sparsely populated outpost between Barstow and Baker; a truck stop in which I was the proprietor. The desert winds scoured this place like maggots on a carcass and tonight they howled as if evil himself devised the choreography. The trucks come and go but most of the drivers sleep in their cabs. The gift shop and diner are managed by my ex-wife, Frannie. We do our best to stay out of each other’s way. Tonight, my rooms are packed full as well as the lot, so I flip on the “No Vacancy” sign. I wonder, “why the traffic all of a sudden?”

The morning comes and I rise before the sun to the steady hum of the big rigs. I had this nagging chore to take care of before the end of the year in order to be re-insured on this place, and today was the day to tackle that out-building. I had been neglecting this little building as of late and now I was forced to face it.  ...seems it was a good place to put stuff I wasn’t quiet sure what to do with. The roof needed some repairing too.   I hiked up to the top of the small knoll and over to this strange little “oasis” of pepper trees and palms planted around the small shack. I had forgotten that once this was a large sheep ranch and this particular building was the only original left standing since before the 19th century. As I walked inside, I saw the sheep shearer’s equipment still hanging on the wall like museum pieces in the sheep stalls. The light filtered in through the roof as I looked up and saw all the holes in need of repair. Something white flashed before my eyes, a cooing dove swiftly flew from the rafters past me and out the door. Gazing at the boxes and other discarded rubble; I definitely knew this was a fire hazard. The Fire Marshall would not sign off on my fire policy until this situation was confronted. After several hours, some even on my hands and knees, I finished the task, and then grabbed my tool belt to head for the roof.

While on the roof, I loosened the belt (from where I used to notch it), reached into the worn leather and found something odd. It was the bulletin from Temple, probably from the last time I had attended. “That was a strange place for this to be, I thought.” I opened it up and read the reading from that day. It was from the 5th chapter of the book of Micah in the Holy Scriptures.

2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Although I hadn’t kept up a good repo ire with God and all that spiritual stuff, I stopped and thought for a minute, “If ever this world needed a Messiah, the time was surely now.” There was a reason I had isolated myself out here. Corruption, greed, and perversion had not just taken this country, but the whole world. Many Believers were mercilessly persecuted. There were very few gatherings of worshippers in any public arena. Only one small place locally I knew of,  a small remnant  of the faithful had relocated. They called themselves “The Hope” and they were lead by a very charismatic man named John Baptiste. Building a nice little town not too far from here, they seemed to be destined to continue God’s calling on their lives. There were rumors that our little truck stop might soon be annexed into this town they called Bethlehem. More than likely, it was probably some scheme to collect more tax money.

The “No Vacancy” signed still glared red in the window as I began to close shop that night. I was so tired from working hard that day, repairing the out-building shed. The bell suddenly clanged at the reception desk and I returned to see who needed my attention. There they stood, a young couple looking bedraggled and anxious as if dropped by the howling wind itself.

“No Vacancy”, I said shaking my head at the same time in case they were foreigners. Then I saw her belly as she groaned in obvious pain of impending birth. The wind was singing tonight and I looked up outside and saw the magnificent starry night and the out-building I had cleaned up that day, mysteriously illuminated by this same sky.

Quickly, I called Frannie, awakening her to my own distress. We made the couple comfortable as we could in the sheep shearer’s shed. Frannie stayed and assisted the young woman whose name was Mary. Frannie had been a nurse when we first met. Mary gave birth to a beautiful, healthy boy that night, in all places, my newly cleaned up sheep shearer’s shed.

In the next few weeks the truck driver’s continued to come, but not for Frannie’s famous chicken-fried steak. They drove to see and to honor this baby, born in the sheep shearer’s shed. They were made aware of this special event the night it happened by their network of CB radios. They were told that this child was special, that this was the Messiah.

Frannie and I grew closer again; forgiveness seemed suddenly the right thing---the only thing to do. We now knew we were part of something orchestrated, something miraculous. Was this really the Messiah? The Promised One? We believed, finding reconciliation and a new purpose.

Standing at my desk, I opened the mail, reading my renewed Fire Insurance Policy. The wind blew open the door and that same white dove flew into my office, perching on top of the wedding picture I once again displayed of Frannie and I. Yes, I was a True Believer.”

By the way, the name of my little business out here on the outskirts of Bethlehem?




In this busy Christmas season, please take the time yourself to ponder the miracle that is Christmas.  Christ came in the form of man to repair your relationship with the Father.  He refuels us everyday with His Word and gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit  to be our Helper.   We can rest in His Promises that we  are forgiven and Eternity with Him awaits. 

Romans 8

Life Through the Spirit

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 

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