Wally was nine years old and in the second grade, though he should have been in the fourth. He was big and clumsy, slow in movement and mind, but well-liked by the other children in class, all of whom were smaller than he.
At times the boys did have trouble hiding their irritation when the uncoordinated Wally would ask to play ball with them. He would stand by, not sulking but hoping. Always a helpful boy, willing, and smiling, the natural protector of any child he felt was being mistreated.
As Christmas time approached, plans were made for the annual school pageant. Children were being assigned their parts: angels, shepherds, wise men, Mary, and Joseph. Wally stood by expectantly then suddenly his joy knew no bounds; for he heard the teacher say, "Wally, I want you to be the Innkeeper." (Not many lines to learn, she reasoned and his size would make his refusal of lodging to Joseph more forceful.) Little did that teacher dream the lesson that such a tender-hearted boy would teach to all who would attend that program.
Then came the rehearsals with the manger, beards, crowns, and a stage full of squeaky voices. Most caught up in the magic of the night was Wally. He would stand in the wings, watching the performance with fascination. His teacher had to make sure he did not wander on-stage before his cue.
Then came the long-awaited night and Wally stood holding a lantern by the door of the Inn, watching as the children who portrayed Mary and Joseph came near him.
"What do you want?" Wally asked with a brusque gesture.
"We seek lodging."
"Seek it elsewhere. The inn is filled."
"Sir, we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled far and are very weary."
"There is no room in this inn for you." Wally looked properly stern.
"Please, good innkeeper, this is my wife. She is heavy with child and needs a place to rest. Surely you must have some small corner for her. She is so tired."
Now, for the first time, the Innkeeper relaxed his stiff stance and looked down at Mary. With that, there was a long pause and the audience became a bit tense.
"No! Be gone!" the prompter whispered from the wing of the stage.
"No! Be gone!" Wally repeated automatically.
Joseph sadly placed his arms around Mary and Mary laid her head upon her husband's shoulder, and the two of them started to move away. The Innkeeper did not return inside his inn, however.
Wally stood there in the doorway, watching the forlorn couple. His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, his eyes filling unmistakably with tears.
And suddenly this Christmas pageant became different from all others.
"Don't go, Joseph," Wally called out. "Bring Mary back." And Wally's face grew into a bright smile. "You can have my room!"
A burst of laughter then silence, then tears flowed freely as the message came through to the listeners. Wally, the boy considered 'slow' had made room for Jesus. He could not turn Mary and Joseph away. God's only begotten Son would be welcomed by him! His tender heart had made room for the Saviour.
Have YOU made room for Him Who loved you so much that He died on the cross for your sin? If not, why don't you right now, like Wally, make room in your heart for Jesus, then give Him first place in your life? He is standing at your heart's door. Just invite Him in.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him..."