Baptist Pastor Chuck Queen tells this story as part of a reflection from his book,” Shimmers of Light: Spiritual Reflections for the Christmas Season.” He states that the source for the story was a sermon he heard years ago, but can’t remember the name of the minister who preached it.
He recounts the story of a ten year old boy named Barry. Every year, Barry ruined the school Nativity Play……..”One year his angel wings caught on fire, which nearly burned down the church. The next year, as Herod the Great, he jumped from his throne and, in his usual clumsy way, jerked the carpet out from under the three wise men and dumped them on their heads.” writes Church Queen.
As a result, his classmates begged their teacher to exclude him from the latest “production”, but she didn’t have the heart to reject him, and so Barry was cast in the role of the Innkeeper.
Then, the big night arrived. He opened the door of the inn and looked straight into the face of Mary and Joseph. The latter asked if there was room in the inn.
Barry, in reply, spoke out loudly and clearly. His timing and emphasis were impeccable: “Be gone, I have no room for the likes of you!”
Then Barry watched Mary and Joseph turn sadly away into the cold night.
“Those on the front row later said that they saw tears well up in Barry’s eyes and his lips start to tremble.” writes Pastor Queen. And the author continues, ” Wait!” cried Barry. It came like a thunderclap. Every heart in the room stopped! This wasn’t in the script of the familiar Christmas story.
“Then Barry finished it: “Wait! You can have my room!” All bedlam broke loose. Barry had done it again; he had ruined another Christmas play.
“But then, maybe not.
“The director quieted the crowd and said, “Maybe, just maybe, Barry has given us the greatest message of all. He could not turn away the Christ child, even in a play.”
Pastor Queen then makes this point:
“What about us? Will we shut Jesus out? When we turn away from a world in need, from the cries of creation for mending and healing, from our brothers and sisters who are lonely, oppressed, wounded, and lost, we turn away from Christ. When we fail to offer food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the destitute, and companionship to the lonely, we are turning Christ away (see Matt 25:34-46). ….. When any of us fail to make room for the disadvantaged in our hearts or in our country, we are failing to make room for Christ.”