Written by Meaghan Wall, Pastoral Leader of the Stonebriar Community GIFT Ministry, which ministers to families and children with special needs.
As we enter the Advent Season, we’re often reminded to “Prepare Him Room”. We set up special activities like the Advent Wreath or the Jesse Tree that walk us through Scripture each day leading up to our celebration of the birth of Christ on Christmas morning. These activities help keep our hearts focused on the true meaning of Christmas instead of being sidetracked by all the lights, presents, and activities—all of which will fade away the minute the season passes.
Each year around this time, I am captivated by the phrase, “No Room in the Inn.” Assume the innkeeper didn’t know Mary was carrying the Savior of the World. He opens his door to a pregnant woman traveling with her husband across the country to register for the census and they’re looking for a place to stay for the night. Instead of making room or helping them find a less popular inn for the evening, he tells them there is no room. Can you imagine Mary’s dismay as they stood in front of the innkeeper asking for a room? I wonder if she was thinking, “If you only knew I am carrying the King of Kings, would you prepare Him room?”
Had the innkeeper known Mary was carrying the Savior of the World, might he have done whatever possible to give Mary the finest accommodations? Had he Prepared Him Room, how do you think his life would have been forever changed?
We will never know what might have been had the innkeeper decided to Prepare Him Room over 2,000 years ago, but we do have the opportunity to rewrite the story for families in our backyards. Week after week, families who have children with special needs are told, “There is no room in the inn” when they knock on the doors of the local church. These families are searching for the hope of Jesus Christ just like every other family, yet they come with special needs. Their child might require more attention, more structure, or more accommodations than the typical child.
We can be different. As we Prepare Him Room this Christmas season, I pray we carry on the theme long after the Advent candles have been lit and the last ornament has been placed on the Jesse Tree. May we forever be looking for ways we can share the hope of Jesus Christ with families with children with special needs by telling them there is plenty of room in our church and we are willing to make whatever accommodations possible to meet their needs.
Instead of wondering how the church might be forever changed if we looked at all children coming into our ministry as if they were children of the King, let’s welcome them in and see what happens.
Meaghan has served as the pastoral leader of special needs at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, since 2006. She has a passion for families affected by special needs and enjoys helping churches across the country catch the vision of special needs ministry. She has a degree in social work from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in Christian leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary. Meaghan has an amazing husband, Michael, and two incredibly cute little boys, Jackson and Grayson, who are the loves of her life. Meaghan is best described by a sign in her office that reads: Jesus, Dr. Pepper, and Texas Tech.