Brent ran downstairs, his little sister, Lindsey, following close behind. “Mom!” Brent cried. “Lindsey won’t leave us alone!”
Brent’s best friend, Clint, had come over to play. The boys were playing with Brent’s fire truck and putting out the fires in the skyscrapers they had built out of blocks. “Lindsey always wants to do what we’re doing,” Brent said. “Why can’t she go away?”
“Brent, please be nice to your sister. She just wants to spend time with you,” Mom said.
“But, Mom, she always wants to tag along. Can’t she do something else for a while?”
“How about if we color together, Lindsey?” Mom asked. Lindsey nodded.
“Thanks, Mom,” Brent said as he started back up the stairs.
“Don’t forget, Brent,” Mom called after him. “You and Clint have practice for the Christmas program in less than an hour.”
“OK, Mom,” Brent replied.
“Mommy, why doesn’t Brent like me?” Lindsey asked, tears forming in her eyes.
“He does like you,” Mom said. “But sometimes he just wants to be with his friends. Brent loves you very much, even if he doesn’t always show it.”
A little while later, Mom took Brent and Clint to the church to practice for the Christmas program. Brent was excited. He was going to play Joseph this year. Before, he’d always been a sheep or a shepherd or a Wise Man. That was neat, but this year would be the best ever.
“OK, we’re going to practice the scene at the inns,” Brother Mitchell said. “Joseph and Mary, take your places. Innkeepers, it’s time.”
The Primary children hurried to their places onstage as Joseph and Mary approached the first inn.
“Please, do you have a room that we could stay in for the night?” Brent asked. “My wife is going to have a baby very soon, and she needs a place to rest.”
“I’m sorry. There’s no room,” the innkeeper said.
“Come on, Mary. Let’s try another place,” Brent said. They walked to the next innkeeper. “Hello, sir. We’ve come a long way, and my wife is going to have a baby very soon. Do you have a place where we can stay?”
“No, we’re all full. There’s no room.”
Brent went to the next innkeeper and knocked on the door, then the next, and then the next. The answer was always the same.
“There’s no room.”
“I’m so sorry, Mary,” Brent said. “Let’s try this one last place.” He turned and knocked on the door. “Sir, please, we’re very far from home, we have no place to go, and my wife is going to have a baby very soon. We’ve tried every inn in town. Do you have anywhere that we could stay?”
“I’m sorry. We’re all full.”
Joseph and Mary turned away slowly, looking sad. “I’m sorry, Mary,” Brent began. “I don’t know what—”
“Wait! Wait just a moment,” the innkeeper called after them. “Maybe I have a place after all. Come with me.” The innkeeper led them to the stable with cows, sheep, and other animals. “It’s not much, but you can stay here if you like.”
“This is wonderful,” Brent said gratefully. “Thank you very, very much.”
* * * *
A few days later, Clint was at Brent’s house again. They were playing in a big box, pretending it was a fort that protected them from invaders. But Lindsey kept bothering them, asking if she could come inside too.
“Lindsey, why don’t you go do something else? Can’t you see that there’s no room for—” Brent stopped mid-sentence. He thought of the words that he’d heard just a few days before: “No room, no room, no room.” He thought of Joseph and Mary and the baby Jesus, who meant so much to all of them. Then he looked at his little sister.
“I’m sorry, Lindsey. Of course there’s room for you. There’s always room for three.”