It seems to me that many times we disparage the innkeeper in the Christmas story. We think he was rude and uncaring to Mary and Joseph, and that he should have found a way to give them a room at the Inn. After all, she was pregnant and obviously had travelled a long way to get to Bethlehem. I’m sure they were dirty and tired from the long 80-mile journey they had just finished. I’m sure Joseph begged with the Innkeeper for a while before he finally gave up begging. It had to be hard for the innkeeper to turn them away because no good businessman turns away a customer
In defense of this man, he was a successful business owner. His inn was full because he ran a good establishment and people wanted to stay there. People want to go to a place that is run properly, and I’m sure his place was. We only hear of this one innkeeper, but I am sure Joseph tried every inn in the city before this one. He was turned down at every one. The city was full because of the census Caesar had commanded. Bethlehem was a small city with a small population, but because it was considered the City of David, all people who were of the house of David had to return there for the census. This not only overcrowded people’s houses but all the business establishments that were in the city. I can imagine this business owner was having his best business day ever and was quite happy about that.
So, when this couple came riding up on a donkey, and she was pregnant and seeking a room, the innkeeper simply stated the obvious. He had no rooms available, and quite possibly a waiting list of people who would like a room if one became available. As he turned the couple away though, he had a moment of compassion. He showed mercy to them. He had a stable in the back, and they could stay there the night. He was not a bad man. This innkeeper is mentioned in the Bible and all the others Joseph might have tried are left out. Why? Because he was a merciful person who wanted to help this couple out. He had mercy on the one who gives mercy. He had compassion on the one who showed compassion to all. He provided shelter on the one who provides all our needs. We should be applauding this innkeeper, not disparaging him. Jesus found a place in his heart even before He was born, before all the miracles, before all the teaching, before He died for all the sins of mankind. He really did make room for Jesus!
How about you? What will you do with this man Jesus? What will you do with the
one who came riding into your life in all humility, only seeking a place in your heart?
Have you allowed the cares of this life and your success make you blind to your need for Him? Have you had too many other distractions to consider His life, His cross and His sacrifice for your sins? Do you even know who He really is? He innkeeper did not know, and yet he still gave him a place. Being in a culture that is full of the gospel message, certainly you now more about who Jesus is than this innkeeper did! At this time of year, we call Christmas, the message is everywhere we look. The lights show to us the star that shone so brightly above His manger bed. The tree shows us the vehicle that brought His death. The manger scenes all over town show us that simple picture of a babe in a manger. How can you miss it? He is everywhere, humbly seeking for you to make a place in your heart for Him. He calls to you in the songs of the season that we hear on the radio, or in the thrill of children opening the presents under the tree.
You see, He was the very first Christmas present. He was given to us to show us the Father, to teach us mercy, to be an example for us to follow. He appeared suddenly and made an immediate impression on some lowly shepherds in a field, and a busy innkeeper who found a place for Him. Here was no fanfare, no far-reaching announcement of His coming. He King of Kings c am quietly to most. Only some shepherds in the field were given the announcement of who this baby really was. Some wise men from distant lands saw a bright star in the sky and knew it was the sign of a great Savior being born. But no one else heard the angels, and no one else recognized the star. Just like Santa puts Christmas presents under the tree in the middle of the night, Jesus came into the middle of an unknowing world. A present for all of humanity. A present that would not only change the course of history, but change a persons’ life.
How about you? Are you a successful business person and feel like your life is full? Or are you famous and rich and don’t have room for anything else? Or are you just a servant of some other business, making money in the middle of the night of your life? Whatever your situation, you need Jesus. He is the only one who can save you from eternal Hell. He is the only one who can rid you of your sin and cleanse your heart and mind. He is the only way to heaven. He comes in meekness and humility and asks you to make a place in your heart. Won’t you let him in today? Won’t you make room?