The Inn Crowd and the
              Cootie People

When Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem they found there was no room for them in the Inn.  Jesus was never in the “Inn Crowd.”  He was born “out-back,” outside in a stable.  He was “despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”  Isaiah tells us.  Jesus always identified with those who were rejected by the “Inn Crowd.”  The poor, the sick, the forgotten, the lonely, the broken hearted all flocked to him.  Little did those in the “Inn Crowd” realize that there in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, was the incarnate Son of God.  Inns are for strangers, travelers, for those making a brief visit.  When God came visiting, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” Ahh, but to as many as receive Him... that is, accept Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God.  The “common people,” the "outsiders," heard Him gladly (Mk. 12:37).

 Everyone wants to be loved and accepted.  Children soon learn that the “Inn” is not big enough for everyone, and that it is a very exclusive club.  Every lunch room in every high school in America has one table where the “In Crowd,” the “cool kids” sit.  Every child soon learns the pain of being rejected.  Be of good cheer, Jesus was never in the “in” crowd. 

 Parents sometimes talk about the “terrible twos.”  They are talking about two-year olds who can be very self centered and selfish.  There is another distressing period children experience.  I call it the “terrible too’s.”  This is when children are denied entrance into the exclusive circle of the “cool” or “in” crowd.  They find out that they are “too short,” or “too tall,” or “too dumb,” or “too poor.”  They are “too something.”  It is a terrible "too."

 I heard about a book called the “Revenge of the Cootie Girls” and it intrigued me.  The author described a phenomenon that played itself out in many school yards in America.  She said it was usually most vicious in the fifth-grade.  It seems that fifth-graders are just beginning to master un-kindness into a kind-of martial art.  There is, she said, usually a group of girls (generally five or six) who for some reason have inherited the title of the “cool” kids. They become the social arbiters of the playground.   They would pronounce judgment upon the other girls and determine which ones had the “cooties.”  If you had the “cooties” you were not just not “in,”  you were worse, you were an “outcast.”  You were rejected.  No kid wanted to have the “cooties.”  Once these girls pronounced (even in a whisper) that someone had the “cooties” it would be an uphill battle to be accepted by anybody.  Anyone who befriended such a person automatically contracted the disease also.

 The children would stop by the “cool” girls each morning and get “inoculated” against the cooties.  It was like paying homage to these royals.  The inoculation was generally a little dot or a small “x” made with a ball point pen.  Woe to the person who failed to get "IN- occulated."

 It was a painful experience for any child who was so rejected.  Many would do anything to be in the “in” crowd.  Some would just give up and look at themselves as a reject.  Others would  live in fear that one day they would be pronounced as having the “cooties.” 

  Jesus was never in the “Inn Crowd,” or the “In Crowd.”  The “In Crowd” hung this kind and gentle Savior on the cross and they mocked him as he was dying.  He suffered “outside” the gate. 

 Jesus came to seek and save sinners.  We all have the “cooties.” Worse says Isaiah, we are a mass of “putrefying sores.” But Jesus is the Great Healer and Physician.  Forget the “Inn Crowd,” God wants us to all be part of the “In Him” Crowd.  “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are past away, behold all things are become new.”  The Bible tells us that “In Him are hid all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God.”  The Apostle Paul told the Colossians that it was his spiritual ambition to see all men “in Christ.” (Col. 1:28).

 It is sad to say that the Inn Crowd is still around and Christ is still left out.  Somehow even Christianity has its “Inn Crowds.”  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock...”  The church of the Laodiceans might have been full of people, and had a crowded calendar of activities, and “fellowship,” but the real Jesus was outside, not in.  Certain denominations, will pay lip service to being “children of God,” but somehow think they are the “cool” kids.  They have “rejected” others has having spiritual “cooties.”  There are even “Inn Crowds” within some local churches where it is almost impossible to penetrate certain “exclusive” groups.

 Jesus was out among the rejects.  He sought those who were “poor” in spirit.  I don’t care to be in the “Inn Crowd.”  I would rather be in the “In Him Crowd.”  How can a person do that you ask? First admit you are a sinner (yes, you have something worse than the “cooties”).  Then ask Him to come “into” your heart and life by believing “in” Him and trusting “in” His dying on the cross to pay for all your sin.

 After you have placed your faith “in” Him (Col. 1:4), determine to make a habit of reading the Bible and being “in” His word (Col. 3:16).  Next, continue being “in” Him by being “in” prayer (Col. 4:2).  Many stop here, but there is more.  Do not rest, until you have told all the outcasts, lonely, rejected, poor, broken, sick, all the “cootie” people that they should forget about trying to be in the “Inn Crowd.”   They should stop trying to appear “in” by the cars they drive, or clothes they wear, or house or neighborhood they live in, and come to Christ, “who will in no wise cast out.” They should come to Christ and be part of the family that really counts, the “In Him” crowd.