I wish I could take credit for this story.
I wish I could give credit for this story.
I heard it somewhere, sometime, but I honestly don’t remember where or when. I was delighted to discover a version of it on Google. Somebody else loves it as much as I do; but they, too, don’t know where it came from.
I think of it every year at Christmas. I wonder if, now, you will too.
The Story of Wally
Once there was a little boy who was involved in a Christmas play at church. His name was Wally. Wally was big for his age—seven years old. He was very friendly and quite excitable; everyone liked him. Wally was a slow learner. Wally’s family had only been coming to the church since summer, but now that the annual Christmas play was coming, everyone wondered what role the teacher would give him. He was on pins and needles as the teacher announced who would play each part. The rest of the Sunday School children thought, “He’s too big to be a sheep because they give that role to the little kids. Perhaps he could pull the curtain or light the lights.”
The director went down the list. Tommy would play Joseph. Clark, Jenny and Peter would be the Heavenly Host. Mary would, of course, be Mary. And then, to everyone’s surprise, the teacher gave Wally the role of the innkeeper. Wally was delighted. He even had a speaking part! All he had to learn was one line: “There is no room in the inn.” He practiced it every day before the big night. Even on the way to school he would repeat, “There is no room in the inn. There is no room in the inn.”
Then came the night of the Christmas program. The parents and grandparents took their places. Every seat was filled. The children entered singing “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The lights dimmed. A hush moved over the audience. The curtain opened. Mary and Joseph entered the stage and walked up to the large wooden door that was to represent the inn. They knocked on the door and Wally came out, dressed as the most perfect innkeeper you have ever seen.
In a loud, confident voice, Joseph looked at Wally and said, “Please sir, my wife is not well. Could we have a room for the night?”
Wally was ready for his line. He had rehearsed it for days. He began loudly, “There is…” and he hesitated. He started over again a little quieter. “There is…” and again his mind went completely blank. His cheeks flushed red. His heart began to pound. Sweat began to form on his brow. Everyone in the auditorium was absolutely silent, feeling a little embarrassed for poor Wally who just didn’t know what to do. Wally’s mom tried to mouth the words to him, but his eyes were fixed on the brilliant stage lights.
After a few uncomfortable moments, Joseph thought he would improvise and started walking away toward where the stable was set up on stage left. Wally looked at Joseph and seeing him walking away, in desperation called out: “Hey, there’s no room in the inn… but there is lots of room at my house. Why don’t you just come home with me!”
Isn’t that a precious yet thought provoking twist to our traditional Christmas story? I think that Wally was really on to something.
And I hope I am too.
I love the hustle and bustle of Christmas. I love the decorations, the carols, the cookies, the lights, the gatherings, the gifts…I am no Grinch or Scrooge by a long shot.
But what I love most is reflecting on and celebrating the extravagant love of my Father and the incomprehensible humility of His dear Son, Jesus, who “leaves the splendor of glory to come to a shattered earth to suffer and die for self-oriented rebels. The Messiah is not born in a palace but in a stable. He lives his life as a pilgrim denied a small luxury even animals enjoy—a home. He is despised and rejected, then subjected to a bloody and painful pubic crucifixion. And he does it all intentionally and willingly so that those rebels will be forgiven, so that those separated from God will have a home with him forever, and so that grace will be supplied to people in desperate need of it.” (Paul Tripp)
Few made room for Him then; few make room for Him now.
But I must. How can I not? How can He not be central to all I celebrate and enjoy?
After all, trite, maybe, but true: He IS the reason for the season.
And, like Wally, there’s room at my house. I want Him home in my heart—and not just at Christmas.
I hope you do too.
Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.
The foxes found rest and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.
Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
When the heav’ns shall ring and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.”
O Come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.