Is There Still No Room at the Inn? – PJ Media

Can you imagine how today’s advertisers would’ve exploited it? How social media would have been abuzz? Visit the hotel where Jesus stayed. Instead of “George Washington slept here,” we’d learn “Jesus Christ slept here.”

The comic character Felix Unger in “The Odd Couple,” when trying to convince people to do crazy things, was fond of quoting John Greenleaf Whittier’s poetic line, ”For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been.'”

Alas, in this case, the joke was on humanity. As the physician St. Luke tells us, presumably with the Blessed Virgin Mary as his source, “There was no room in the inn.” 

Instead, the child for whom all the world’s wealth is no more than a bag of shells joined the ranks of any poor young couple stranded on the road or in an airport with no place to lay their heads. If you have ever been stranded without a wallet or transportation, needing a place to stay, you know the dread that can bring. With a baby on the way, you can double that.

The funny thing that hasn’t changed is that the King of the Universe doesn’t break down our door and demand a seat at the table. Jesus came because we needed him, not because he needed us. And he doesn’t interfere with our freedom to figure that out for ourselves.

So, if we think we are being generous to the poor or those in need, we have it all upside down. It is God who is being generous to us. He is the one giving us the opportunity to make room for him in the inn. We are the ones who need to be thankful for the chance to make up for that missed opportunity so long ago. 

It is as if someone went into the Christmas window at the department store and switched all the price tags, and it is up to us to figure out what their true value is.

If Mary and Joseph didn’t find room at the inn and a place suitable for giving birth to a baby, what did they have? The one thing in a world that has grown so cold that many young people today, even with all the abundance of material blessings, don’t have. They had each other. 

Over half the people in New York, one of our world’s largest cities, are not married. The same is true in other cities and towns. Children are few, and marriages are fewer. As the American writer Walker Percy once put it, we are a people wrapped in cellophane, hermetically sealed from one another. 

True, there is no one to hurt us, no one to slow us down, no one we have to share things with, but what cliff are we exactly rushing headlong to jump off of? Not everyone is meant for marriage or called to it. And there are many people the world simply rejects based on its ridiculous standards. This is the normal flow of events.

But the number of young people terrified of commitment today is staggering. Whether it is financial security or any other rationale, ending the delay to marriage is the long overdue key to happiness for many.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but the reality is that, statistically, married couples with three or more children are the most stable and financially secure. 

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If most young people want to be happy, they need to found a family and take on this new challenge. For the guys, this means not being so passive. Life isn’t just going to happen. For gals, it means getting real. Every marriage begins with a child — their dopey husband. Both need to understand that nobody is perfect, and original sin is universal, so a struggle to overcome selfishness will be required. But it is worthwhile.  

Mary and Joseph certainly were in a precarious financial situation, and that was only going to get worse. But they had youth, humor, and a love of God. And even with no room in the inn, they had a room in each other’s hearts. And that was more than enough to change the world. And that is something very practical that many young people today can imitate by starting a family. The world needs changing, and it can be done one holy family at a time.


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