The Christmas Story: The Innkeeper
“And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”1
Church plays, community skits, and even school programs have all scripted a role in their Nativity Story for an Innkeeper who turns Joseph and Mary away, telling them that there is no room for them in the inn. However, this fabled Innkeeper is never actually mentioned in the Bible. We have come to assume that someone in Bethlehem turned Joseph and Mary away that night and possibly even directed them to a stable for animals, but this fact is not printed in Scripture. We find this account in Luke 2 and what we do know to be fact is that there was indeed “No room for them in the inn”.
Regardless of whether there was an Innkeeper or not; or that maybe they might have heard on the road that the inns were full, the fact is that the people could not make room for Jesus that night and they missed out on the blessing of receiving the Savior.
Fast-forward two thousand years, and the scenario hasn’t changed much. As the holidays approach, we become so caught up with shopping and decorating, that we forget to make room for the Savior! Jesus challenged us to open our hearts to the least among us and in doing so we would be opening our hearts to Him (Mat. 25: 44-45). When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, they were strangers. They were probably tired, hungry, and cold and no one took a moment to lend them a hand.
We encounter tired people every day – a husband who works hard to provide for his family, a mother who spends the day caring for her children, the store clerk who has encountered too many unhappy customers. For years now, we have lived among a cold and hungry homeless population who just need a bit of consideration this season. Every day, we come across opportunities to open our hearts and be an Innkeeper of sorts who opens their hearts to those in need. The Innkeeper of the Nativity story may not be an actual character, but the lesson we can take away from this is not to pass up the opportunity to receive the blessing of the Savior this Christmas. Lend a smile to that tired someone, or a blanket and soup to the cold and hungry in our town. Remember that in doing so, we are doing it to Jesus!
Dear Heavenly Father, please allow me to see past my own wants and needs to the needs of others this season. Allow me to cross paths with someone who might need a blessing that I can fill. People’s hearts were closed to your Son that special night, but I want to open my heart this Christmas to receive the most precious gift of all – Jesus! And it’s in His name that we say, Amen.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.