Simon, the innkeeper, exhaustedly watched the bustling of people who had filled the dining area.  He and his family had worked tirelessly all-day cooking, cleaning, and serving meals to the overbooked patrons that were here for the census ordered by Caesar Augustus.

With a sigh of relief that everything was going well, Simon stepped outside to get some fresh air.  He turned towards the cool breeze allowing it to flow over his sweaty face.  Looking towards the darkened sky, he witnessed the stars making themselves visible in the vast sky.  His family had been so busy that he didn’t know if they would ever have a moment of rest or quietness.

Hearing movement, Simon pulled his gaze away to a silhouette of a man walking through the gate.  “Excuse me sir, I have been to many inns, and they are all full.  My wife is with child and is about to give birth. Do you have any room?”

As the man came close, Simon could see the worry etched in his face.  Many people had come by asking for a room, but he had to turn each one away because there was no more room.  The man stirred him out of his contemplating.  “Please sir, my wife doesn’t have much time.”

Simon took pity on the man.  “I have no room in the Inn, but I do have a stable in the back that you can use to rest and prepare for the birth of your child.”

The man stepped forward and grabbed Simon’s hand.  “Thank you, sir, for your kindness.”

Simon followed the man out of the courtyard to find a donkey with a woman sitting atop.  The nearby light reflected off the sheen of her face showing evidence that she was indeed in labor pain.

The tired innkeeper snapped to attention with newfound energy.  “Quick, let’s get you two settled.  Follow me.”

After preparing a bed of hay for the woman and getting the burro settled with food, Simon went back to the Inn to get water and food for the couple.  He then sent his wife out with supplies to help the woman with the birthing.

Later that night, his wife came back to the house and told him that a baby boy had been born and that he was sleeping contently in a manger that they had prepared with hay.

Simon sat outside quietly admiring the bright star that seemed to be directly over his home.  He pondered how never in his life he would have imagined a child being born in his stable.  Through all this craziness in Bethlehem an innocent little baby had been brought into this world.  He wondered what would be in store for this child.

Luke 2:11 “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Have you ever wondered about the innkeeper?  Couldn’t he find some better accommodation for Joseph and Mary?  Instead, he offered up his stable where Mary gave birth to Jesus.  I always thought of the innkeeper as a gruff and rude guy.  This year I became curious about this person, and I realized that there is a lot I don’t know about him.  There really isn’t anything in the bible about this innkeeper so based on my experiences I had to use a little imagination.

The owner and his family probably had been working tirelessly all day and into the night serving folks.  Maybe countless people had begged him for a room or even a small space to camp out on.  Most likely he had to deal with some angry people that he had to turn away.  What else could he do?  Many people had flooded into Bethlehem for the census, and he was probably doing the best he could to make room for as many as people he could fit in.

But for some reason, when Joseph and Mary showed up in their condition, the innkeeper took pity on them and offered his stable.  I suppose Joseph was relieved to have a safe place where he could get Mary settled before she gave birth to their child.  But then, the prophecy did say that the child would be found wrapped in cloths lying in a manger.

I find that each Christmas season is always full of things to do.  Since I don’t have children at home anymore, I feel less burdened to make sure everything is prepared for the many Christmas traditions we used to do.  Of course, I was younger and had more energy then.

Although I still find myself trying to squeeze in as much as I can in a month’s period before Christmas is here such as mailing Christmas cards.  I know many folks have laid this tradition to rest and rightfully it has probably lessened their Christmas burden along with cost.  But this is one tradition I have hung onto.

I have close friends that I want to shower with a gift and need to get the packages in the mail before Christmas.  Our house always looks more festive once the Christmas lights have been hung not only on the roof edges but on some nearby trees to add character to the light show.

“The giving of gifts is not something man invented.  God started the giving spree when He gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son.” – Robert Flatt

Then of course I must get Christmas presents for the family, stocking gifts, bake Christmas cookies and plan the Christmas meal.

WHEW!  Will this list ever end?

Now that I’m taking time to write this blog, I’m asking myself that through all this hustle and bustling have I given myself any time to think about why I do all of this?  Recently I was telling one of my foreign friends that Americans tend to celebrate Christmas all December and that it is probably the biggest holiday we celebrate.  Again, I ask myself, why?

“Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room enough for Jesus.” – Neal A. Maxwell

Well, it’s because it’s Christmas.  It’s what I have always done.  It’s hard work and yes, I will admit that there are many times that I wish I could just chuck all these traditions of mine and just enjoy the rawness of Christmas.

Honestly, I think I would miss all these extras that make celebrating this incredible day enjoyable, but I will take many breaks to sit still and think about that day when Mary sat upon a donkey struggling with labor pains and probably wishing she could be somewhere comfortable.  I will think about the baby Jesus laying in a manger while shepherds with their flock stand nearby admiring the amazing gift given by God.  A child who would one day save this world.  I too am a recipient of that gift, a child of God.

“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” – C.S. Lewis

God knows our struggle with busyness.  This is why He continually invites us to seek Him, seek His face, and seek His presence.  This Christmas Holiday and on into this new year, may we slow down and become more aware of His presence.  May we make room for Jesus first before other things fill our life too full.

Has anyone stopped you and said, “Hey, slow down.  Christmas will come and go whether you do all this or not.  Why not enjoy the moment so you too can ponder the true meaning of Christmas.”

Lord, thank you for the gift of salvation that came through that once small baby born in rough conditions wrapped in cloths laying in a manger.  May I never lose sight of the REAL MEANING of why we celebrate Christmas.

Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash

Merry Christmas





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