Part of a Series “Preparing the Way”
by Steve Dunn
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
– Luke 2.3-7 NIV
How many times have you read these words or heard them spoken over the years of your lifetime? As a Christian since an early age and a pastor for 43 years, my answer would “beyond memory or measure.” There are many voices and faces in the Christmas story; but there is one face you do not see or voice you do not here, yet that person played a major role in the Nativity Story.
The Innkeeper. At some point he must have said, “We have no room” and so Mary and Joseph had to find shelter in a cave used by the domestic animals. And when Mary’s water broke in that unlikely and uncomfortable place, a baby was born and placed in a manger.
I wonder when it began to dawn on this nameless innkeeper that something extraordinary had happened on his establishment’s grounds. Was is it when those shepherds began singing in the courtyard? Was it when the curious began to visit the mother and her new baby? Was it when three astrologer Kings overwhelmed his courtyard with their entourage?
I wonder what he felt. Embarassment? Shame for his decision? There is no historic record that would allow us to verify any answer.
What I wonder more about is “what would I have done?” I am a practical man; sometimes a little too business-like. I am a man who is busy and make too many decisions on the run. I am a man who in the daily demands of life can lose track of the presence of the Holy.
Fortunately God understands our frailities and or sin. In fact, that is precisely why he took on flesh and moved into the neighborhood. Why he subjected himself first to the humility of a manger and ultimately to the shame and pain of the Cross.
I pray that I would be so focused on Him, expecting Him, that I make room for Him in my life.
© 2014, 2018 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to http://www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org