Tuesday, December 24, 2013

In Defense of the InnKeeper. A Christmas Post.

 Tis the season for Christmas songs.  If you listen carefully, there at least a dozen chastising the Innkeeper in Bethlehem that turned away Joseph and Mary.  The story is that the Inn was full.  Of course it was.  The town was full of travelers for the census.  The Innkeeper had no room and sent them away.  If God had wanted his son born in that Inn, it would have happened.  If God had wanted his son born in a palace on silk sheets, it would have happened. 

That's not where Jesus was meant to be.  First of all, it's very likely the Inn was dirty and crowded.  The walls would have been paper-thin and the rooms filled with people, noise, and chaos.  The beds were well-used and may have had bedbugs or lice.  Even with a good house-keeping, the place was soiled and used... as hotel beds will be used. 

Instead, God sent Joseph and Mary to a place that was pure and quiet.  In the stable they found peace and privacy.  Baby Jesus was laid in a bed that no person had ever used before.  It was His.  They were surrounded by animals, quiet and innocent.  Among the quiet shuffle and munching of the animals, the babe was laid in a manger.  This is a feeding trough for the animals, one of the most sanitary places in a stable.  There was really no worry of disease.  God didn't send his son to succumb to an infection in infancy.  In more than one sense of the word, the stable was cleaner than the inn.

While born to lead, Jesus' time on Earth was humble.  His birth, life, and death were all humble.  His story is also unique.  His birth was not to blend in and be lost in the hustle and bustle of an Inn.  Each year as we view the stable and Nativity, we are reminded of that uniqueness.  This may have been Jesus' first parable. The Story of the King born in a stable.

Perhaps the Innkeeper was an insensitive jerk, perhaps he was just doing his job.  Perhaps he even felt guilt and thought to give up his own bed for Mary, but if he had, God would have hardened his heart.  Jesus was never meant for that Inn.  He was meant for the perfect birthplace in the peace of the stable.  His story is its own.

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