A family arrives around 6:00. The husband works at a church while the wife stays home with 4 young children. The 4 kids have been cooped up in the car for 8 hours driving back from visiting family in Pennsylvania, so when they finally slide their card key into the lock and open the door, the children are not exactly quiet. The hotel is basically empty, so the parents allow them to make some noise. After 3 trips down to the mini-van, all of the blankets, sippy-cups, and balloon animal kits are in the room. They make a run to pick up some dinner to eat before they all go to bed, skipping baths for the kids because everyone is just so tired.
A group of people arrive a little before 6:00. I’m not exactly sure what they all do for a living, but I can say with certainty that none of them work in a church…if they did, they probably would not have a job after the night was over. They go up to their room, excited to finally be there. As they slip the card key into the lock and open the door, they are met with the reminder that the whole night is in front of them. They, too, are not going to keep quiet, but instead of the crying of babies and the stomping of toddler feet they opt for the beat of rap music and loud voices. Oh, I almost forgot the drag racing in the parking lot. After 3 trips down to the cars, they finally have all of the liquor, beer, and wine that they need.
2 very different groups of people. It seems the only thing that they have in common is a shared Holiday Inn Express hallway and an inability to keep the noise level down to a respectable level. The similarities, however, are greater than we often realize. Recall the famous scripture:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
God gave His son to this world and then gave up His son at the hands of the world for the world, not for the exclusive club of church-goers or only those whose sin is more respectable than empty liquor bottles and the smell of marijuana. Jesus Christ came, lived, died, and rose again so that everyone might have the chance to believe in Him.
We cannot imagine the love that the Father has for us, but one thing is sure: He loves those in room 202 every bit as much as He loves those in room 203. This Christmas, let us remember that every person was created in the image of God and He loves them as such. Let us stop, for just a moment, seeing people as lost and sinful and take a minute to see them as loved by God.
If we can begin to see people around us the way our Father sees them, perhaps the doors will be open a bit wider for them to in turn experience this great, great love of the Father this Christmas.