The Innkeeper


“There was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7


Scores of persons, who were the descendants of David, were converging on Bethlehem to comply with the census order of Emperor Augustus. Soon all the rooms in the inn were filled. And people kept coming, we surmise. What should the innkeeper do? Today he’d turn on the “No Vacancy” sign, lock up, and go to bed that evening.

Sometimes people condemn the innkeeper as heartless because he turned Mary and Joseph away in the hour of their need. His plight was similar to that of a present day motel operator when a blizzard blocks the main highway and all the stranded travelers want a room. It happened to us as we became stranded in Des Moines, the 1st real snow storm, in November.

Have you ever considered that perhaps the guests were selfish because they didn’t give their room to Mary, “being great with child,” ready to deliver her 1st born? Neither the innkeeper nor the guests could realize that this young woman would that night give birth to the Son of God! Mary and Joseph were just another couple, and Mary was just another expectant mother to them.

The innkeeper didn’t want to disturb the paying guests, and put them into the barn, and those who had rooms weren’t about to give up their comfort for the sake of an unknown couple.

Unconcern for people in need is the same today as it was on that 1st Christmas night. How much suffering and want could be prevented if people wouldn’t be so wrapped up in themselves. Even when you all it “non-involvement,” it’s still plain selfishness.

If I had been a guest in that Bethlehem inn on Christmas night, would I have given my room too Mary and Joseph, while I slept in the barn? You don’t have to answer the question. For it was God’s way of bringing His Son into our world… not with pomp and celebration; not with parades and bands playing; but in humble quietness. This was God’s way for us even in Jesus, who was rich, becoming poor for us that we might receive the richness of God, His righteousness.

That came about in full fruition in His suffering and death for us on the cross, -again God giving to us from His point of view rather than ours or that of the world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”    (John 3:16)

I’d like to think that I’d give up my soft bed for people in need and want; and especially, I’d like to think that I’d give my bed, my home, my all to Jesus even if that meant that I would be sleeping in the barn! But God made it possible that I didn’t have to. Still, I pray that Jesus, my Savior, may live in my heart and make it a chamber fit for Him.