Consider the Innkeeper



“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 room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:6-7)

We know the story well. We hear it read every Christmas season. We have watched pageants in which the young ones of the church portray the various persons of the Christmas story. Sometimes a young newborn represents, Jesus. Mary and Joseph look expectantly at the baby placed in a makeshift feed trough.

They are surrounded by young ones dressed in robes, carrying staffs much bigger than themselves, and sometimes a live sheep comes with them. Three boys get the distinct pleasure of wearing fine robes and bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, although in real-time this occurred much later.

Little girls of all ages and sizes adorn the pageant scene dressed in beautiful white robes and wearing cumbersome wings. The whole scene is adorable, and we always love watching our children, grandchildren, or the young ones of our friends as they act out this miraculous scene.

Sometimes, but rarely, the pageant includes the previous scene in which Joseph and a very pregnant Mary approach an inn seeking a room. They had traveled a long distance mostly uphill, and they had to be extremely tired. In this scene, they are greeted by a young boy portraying the innkeeper.

Sometimes, he is directed to act grumpy and deny them a room. After all, this census that Caesar Augustus decreed had brought many folks into Bethlehem that night. He surely had been extremely busy preparing rooms, managing the kitchen, and greeting guests.

I remember the story of the Christmas pageant in which a little boy had been selected to portray the innkeeper. He had memorized his line well and had been directed to act grumpy. However, when Mary and Joseph came to his door in appropriate costumes, seeking a room in his inn.

However, he couldn’t make himself be grumpy, so he offered them a room. That wasn’t according to the script, but it represented to the congregation the best way to welcome the Christ child into their hearts. That was probably a Christmas that the congregation and the cast never forgot.

Let’s consider the original innkeeper in the Biblical narrative. Certainly, he was a bit weary that evening. I assume that his usual business at the inn was much slower, and he had become overwhelmed by the inflow of people returning to Bethlehem because they were “of the house and lineage of David.”

The reality was that he had no room available. Noticing the pregnant Mary, could he like the little boy in the Christmas pageant have somehow made room? Some commentators suggest that he did make room for them; that the manger was part of his property.

Thirty-some years later, I wonder if he realized that this Jesus who was turning the world on end was the same little boy that Mary gave birth to that night thirty years prior. If he was aware, he surely understood the significance of that night long ago. Perhaps he even replayed that evening in his mind, wondering if he could have somehow made room in

Dear Lord, we hear the story of the innkeeper, and we must decide whether we will make room for Christ in our hearts. We make decisions all the time, but this decision is the most significant choice we make in our lifetime. When we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we must continually receive Him as our Lord and let Him have full roo m in the inn of our hearts. In His name. Amen.

Jerry is just an ordinary Jesus follower who is blessed to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit in writing these articles. He an be reached at

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