Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The person not mentioned in the Christmas Story

So I was in Sunday School this past Sunday (Obviously Sunday, not another day, since it was Sunday school.) OK, so forgive me--my brain is fried because I've been studying for exams for like ever. Anyway, we were doing Christmas jeopardy, and one of the questions was: "What did the innkeeper say to Mary and Joseph?"
Answer 1: No room in the inn (Wrong)
Answer 2: What is no room in the inn? (Wrong)
Answer 3: There was no innkeeper.
That is the correct answer. Give her a piece of candy.
Wait! Did I just say that? There wasn't an innkeeper? Well, obviously, there had to be an innkeeper. There was an inn, we know. And it wasn't a free hotel. There had to be someone hanging out there doing the cleaning and taking care of animals and food and money and stuff. But did you realize that he is not ever mentioned in the Bible? There is nothing about his complaining about all the people and how King David would be horrified to see his home town disgraced this way. He doesn't regretfully tell them to leave since he is filled up, then changes his mind, goes running after them, and shows them to a stable, providing clean clothes.
He is not even mentioned.
Luke 2: the classic Christmas story says--
verse 6 & 7--and so it was that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes. Because there was no room for them in the inn.
Verse 8: and there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields . . .
There are only 5 mentions of an inn in our Bible. Only 2 of them are in the NT (both in Luke), and one of them is this chapter. (The other one is about the good Samaritan).  
So, I totally had this whole post planned out in my mind last night, but between studying for my early childhood ed class and hermeneutics, I completely forgot what I was going to say. So this is being winged, which, when I think about it, is actually how i do a lot of stuff.
The innkeeper. We know he exists. He did play an important part in this story.  Sort of. I mean, he gave Jesus His first bed. In a stable. He gave Jesus the feeding trough. But he was willing to give when no one else would/could.
Think about it. Did he do a good thing? yes! HE let a pregnant mother give birth in his barn.
Did he do what was best? No. Of course, you could argue, he didn't know the King of kings and Lord of lords was going to be born in his barn. No, but he knew a baby was going to be born in his barn. You could also argue that Mary and Joseph were a poor couple--he could tell by looking at them that they wouldn't be able to pay the (probably much higher than normal) rates per night. It would be a money loss for him to turn out another paying guest for this couple that would not be able to pay him much at all.
Before you judge him, how often have you done this? Done something "good" instead of something better? Like the innkeeper--sacrificed having Jesus being born in his Inn and let him be born in his barn. It was good of him to give up the barn, would have been better for him to give up a room.
how often do we do this? Sacrifice best for good. Study some because we know we will pass when we should study a ton to reach the next letter grade. Hang out with a friend and do some spiritual encouraging when we should be hanging out with the God of the universe? Do you know what I mean???
This Christmas, focus on doing what is best instead of settling for what is good. You may not always know exactly what God has in store, but trust Him anyways!


  1. This is very good stuff, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing.

    It's difficult for any of us to come up with a firm application on the topic of the innkeeper, since we're forced to speculate.

    As for my speculation, I've come up with a bit of a different conclusion. We don't know that they innkeeper ever gave them a place to sleep in a stable. We merely know that they found shelter there because there was no other shelter in Bethlehem. The innkeeper may've had nothing to do with it. To me, I see this as the first-fruits of Christ's rejection on earth. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." From the very outset, Christ was rejected by his people.

    It's a sobering thing to think that Christ would love his people (and mankind) in the face of so much rejection. Just a small amount of rejection from someone and my opinion of them is diminished. Yet Christ carried through his Father's plan ... and lived in a world of rejection and died because of that rejection so that we who reject might repent and turn towards him. It's a powerful thought, and that's what I take away.

    But again, it's purely speculative. We're likely to get to heaven and find that you're right and I'm wrong on a great many things. :-)

  2. who knows. we may both be right. Not quite sure how. actually, there is many other possibilites. And I think that when we get to heaven, we won't be asking God about how they came to find shelter in a stable. I was just thinking since SUnday school and my brain moves in very odd ways. . . just felt like writing these thoughts down.