Christmas Character: The Innkeeper
Suggested reading: Luke 2:4-7
Bethlehem was crazy busy! The census had brought many people to the City of David. Every inn was full of people and animals that had traveled there to register. The innkeeper in Jesus’ birth story is often portrayed as the villain, but I’m not sure that he deserves it.
First Century inns were simple structures. They basically were walled-in areas with a well. Larger inns might have had several small rooms surrounding a courtyard. People and animals stayed together. Inns were nothing like we expect today when we travel!
Joseph was worried. He and Mary had traveled for many miles and they knew the baby was coming at any time. They probably had knocked on the doors of several inns searching for a room. This innkeeper showed compassion for the young couple and offered all he had—a warm place in his stable. He made room. I feel sure that Mary and Joseph were relieved to be offered a place to rest.
It would be much easier to think of Jesus, our King, being born in a beautiful room in an inn, with clean linens, soft towels, and room service. Thinking of His young mother laboring on a comfy bed with fluffy pillows would make us feel so much better. But I think Jesus’ birth happened exactly the way it was supposed to happen.
Jesus came into this world just like so many others had before Him. The angels didn’t approach royalty to announce His birth. They appeared to common men out doing their jobs in a field. This amazing Gift of Grace and Love was born for all, no matter how rich or poor. He can surely relate to all of us.
This Christmas season make room in your life for Jesus.
Bronwyn Stanley, Children’s Minister