When Thomas Jefferson was Vice President of the United States (1797 and 1801), there was not a railroad in the world and there were no broad highways as there are now. The roads were crooked, muddy and rough. If a man were obliged to go from one city to another, he often rode on horseback, jolting along through mud and mire, exposed to wind and weather.
One day, several men were sitting by the door of a hotel in Baltimore. As they looked down the street, they saw a horseman approaching. He was riding very slowly. Both he and his horse were bespattered with mud.
“There comes old Farmer Mossback,” said one of the men, laughing. “He’s just in from the backwoods.”
“He seems to have had a hard time of it,” said another, “I wonder where he’ll put up for the night.”
“Oh, any kind of place will suit him,” answered the landlord. “He’s one of those country fellows who can sleep in the haymow and eat with the horses.”
The traveller was soon at the door. He was dressed plainly and with his reddish-brown hair and mud-bespattered face, looked like a hard-working countryman.
“Have you a room here for me?” he asked the landlord.
Now the landlord prided himself upon keeping a first-class hotel and feared his guests would not like the rough-looking traveller. So he answered: “No, sir. Every room is full. The only place I could put you would be in the barn.”
“Well, then,” answered the stranger, “I will see what they can do for me at the Planters’ Tavern round the comer;” and he rode away.
About an hour later, a well-dressed gentleman came into the hotel and said, “I wish to see Mr. Jefferson.”
“Mr. Jefferson!” said the landlord.
“Yes, sir. Thomas Jefferson, Vice President of the United States.”
“He isn’t here.”
“Oh, but he must be. I met him as he rode into town and he said he intended to stop at this hotel.” ‘’No, he hasn’t. The only man that has been here for lodging today was an old clodhopper who was so spattered with mud that you couldn’t see the colour of his coat. I sent him round to the Planters.”
“Did he have reddish-brown hair and did he ride a gray horse?”
“Yes and he was quite tall.”
“That was Mr. Jefferson,” said the gentleman.
“Mr. Jefferson!” cried the landlord. “Was that the Vice President? Here, Dick! Build a fire in the best room. Put everything in tiptop order, Sally. What a dunce I was to turn Mr. Jefferson away!
He shall have all rooms in the house and the ladies’ parlour too. I’ll go right round to the Planters’ and fetch him back.”
So he went to the other hotel where he found the Vice President sitting with some friends in the parlour.
“Mr. Jefferson,” he said, “I have come to ask your pardon. You were so bespattered with mud that I thought you were some old farmer. If you’ll come back to my house, you shall have the best room in it - yes, all rooms if you wish. Won’t you come?”
“No,” answered Mr. Jefferson. “A farmer is as good as any other man; and where there’s no room for a farmer, there can be no room for the Vice President of USA.”
Twenty one centuries has passed and still there is no room for Jesus in the hearts of people. Nations have become so materialistic that wherever you look there doesn’t seem to be room for Him
No room for Jesus
The great evangelist of the 19th century D.L. Moody said, “For 4,000 years before Jesus was born, the world had been looking for Him. Prophets had been prophesying and the mothers of Israel praying and hoping they might be the mother of that child. But alas, when Jesus came, nobody was prepared to receive Him.”
And St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) had said, “There is terrible physical suffering in some countries, starvation and so on. But that is easier to deal with than the feeling of rejection the homeless feel. The hardest part for them is not the cold, but the feeling of being unwanted.”
Not only at His birth but throughout His earthly life, Jesus was rejected by people. I quote D.L. Moody again, “His neighbours didn’t want Him; those Nazarenes didn’t want Him; they would have taken Him to the brow of a hill and dashed Him to the bottom; they would have torn Him limb from limb, if they could. He went down to Capernaum; they didn’t want Him there. Jerusalem didn’t want Him. To me, one of the most touching verses in the Bible is St. John 7:53: “Then each went to His own home. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.”
Perhaps, it was in a lonely moment like this Jesus said, “Faxes have holes and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Had Jesus come with all glory of the upper world, He might have been ushered into this world with ten thousand angels; and legions of angels might have come to herald His advent. If He had chosen to, He might have been born in a palace.
Someone said, “The only person in history who was able to choose where he was to be born chose a manger.”
Twenty one centuries has passed and still there is no room for Jesus in the hearts of people. Nations have become so materialistic that wherever you look there doesn’t seem to be room for Him. Consider how most folks spend their money during the Christmas season on wasteful expenditure when an estimated 700 people in the world die of starvation every hour. Benjamin Franklin said, “How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!”
Today, Jesus comes to us like a beggar, a refugee, an orphan, a prisoner. But we fail to recognise Him. Didn’t Jesus say, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
There is a story about an encounter a bishop had with a beggar. One day, while the bishop was travelling by car with his chauffeur, he stopped at a wayside shop to buy something. He spent all his money in buying what he needed.
Had Jesus come with all glory of the upper world, He might have been ushered into this world with ten thousand angels; and legions of angels might have come to herald His advent. If He had chosen to, He might have been born in a palace
As he came back to the car, a beggar approached him and begged for money. The bishop patted him on his shoulder and said, “Sorry, I don’t have any money to give you. But if I meet you again, certainly I will give something to you.”
Having said that, the bishop took his seat behind the chauffeur. He noticed that the beggar had not moved away. He was beaming with happiness and he put his head inside the car and smiled at the bishop. Somewhat surprised, the bishop asked him, “My friend, I did not give you even a cent. How is that you seem to be so happy?”
The beggar replied, “Sir, today is a very happy day in my life. Because it had been long time since someone touched me!”
Hilary Ryan Fernando,