Why the Inn Keeper Missed Christmas
Luke 2:7 “And she gave birth to her firstborn, as son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
My two older sons and I drove from Columbus, Georgia to New York City to see the Yankees play one of their last games in Yankee Stadium. After a 16 hour drive we were pretty exhausted. We stopped at a motel in Jersey and were told there was no room available. There was a concert in town and rooms were scarce. The motel manager began calling around to other motels to see if he could find us a room.
Mary and Joseph approached the inn in Bethlehem. It was tax time and thousands had come to pay their taxes and participate in festivities. The inn keeper looked Christmas in the face that night and missed it entirely. “I have no rooms, but there is a stable…” He was too busy to be concerned for this desperate couple. It was obvious Mary was due to deliver very soon. Yet, the inn keeper was so busy he didn’t even call around to see if any other rooms were available, he didn’t even call for someone to help the young mother. He was busy living, busy earning money, busy saving for retirement.
How difficult it must have been for Mary. Could her loneliness been any more intense than it was that night? Her birth pains were intense, she was alone with Joseph in a strange, smelly stable. I’m sure Joseph did the best he could but Mary needed someone who had been there and done that. She needed a midwife, female company to sympathize with her and encourage her during her first birth. Alone, very alone. The worried lines on Joseph’s face were not reassuring to her. The occasional bleat of a sheep or the restless cluck of a chicken offered her no comfort.
Years ago in a small town on the east coast of the United States, a dozen people met for a town meeting. There was a man there that night whom no one seemed to know. He rose to make a comment about some of the projects they were considering and was rudely interrupted so he quietly sat down and did not speak again.
After the meeting was over, a man who had arrived late, asked the others, “What was he doing here? Is he here to help us?” The rest of them said, “What are you talking about?” The man said, “You don’t know, you mean to tell me you don’t know the man who must walked out? That was John D. Rockefeller, his yacht is in our harbor, did you get his help?” In despair they cried, “No, we didn’t get his help, we didn’t know who he was.”
Had the inn keeper only known who he was? This baby born in a nearby stable was the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world. Many of us, like the inn keeper, miss Christ because we are so busy, too busy to get to know him. We make no room for the king born in Bethlehem, no room for the lamb who died on the cross, no room for the savior who rose from the dead.
If we miss Christ we miss Christmas. It’s not about the cookies, the presents, the decoration…it’s not even all about the children. We live in such a child-centric culture that children often feel they are more important than the adults. Our children need to know that it’s not all about them, it’s about Christ.
We dare not miss the whole point of Christmas! The Christ of glory was born miraculously, he lived perfectly, he died vicariously (in our place), he rose victoriously and he reigns eternally. This is the true meaning of Christmas!