I only did what you have done a thousand times, or more,
when Joseph came to Bethlehem and knocked upon the door.
I did not turn the Christ away,
with alibi, so deft.
Like you, I simply gave to him,
whatever I had left. -Author Unknown
I think we have been a bit hard on the innkeeper. In many pageants, the innkeeper is portrayed as a stern, gruff man who did not have time to care about a woman and the baby she was about to deliver. Luke does not condemn him, as he simply reports, “… and laid him in the manger because there was no place for them in the inn.”
There was a room, I suspect, but the innkeeper never thought of it. There was his room he could have shared, but he was too busy with the best business in some time. I doubt it crossed his mind that since he was so busy, he would not be needing his room. He could share it with someone who could use it.
Perhaps the reason we are so hard on the innkeeper is because we know we would have been more thoughtful. We would have done better if we had been there. But really?
From Thanksgiving until Christmas Day, the whole world moves over, making room for the Baby Jesus. But the room we leave is always in the stable. It really doesn’t matter what we put in our front yard or in our season greetings. Because we do not live there. Most of the places we put Jesus today are the places we do not need for anything else. We still put him in the stable.
Jesus wants to be more to us than an eccentric relative who always embarrasses us when he comes. He wants to be more than someone we remember only on his birthday. All the lights, the decorations, the gifts, the inflatable figurines, and pageants are worthless if they only serve to keep Christ in the stable of our lives. There is always room in the stable.
But is there any room in our heart and life for Jesus Christ? He wants more than what we have left.