An Innkeeper's Christmas
I'm here to take up for the innkeeper this Christmas. (The innkeeper who, incidentally, isn’t even mentioned in the Bible). This poor, unmentioned man gets such a bad rap. Everybody must have told Mary and Joseph that there was no room. The innkeeper probably did too. But maybe, as the innkeeper closed the door behind them, he hesitated, and maybe he swung the door open again and raised his voice to catch the couple as they walked away: "I do have a little room!" Not much. Not by a long shot. But he opened it up as best he could.
No one had told him to reserve a room for the holy family. The date wasn’t circled on his calendar, and no advent devotional counted down the days to their arrival.
He wasn’t prepared for their arrival. But maybe something prompted him to open the tiny, humble space he did have.
God didn’t delay until a finer room might be found. He didn’t demand anything more than the innkeeper had to give. The God Man squirmed His way into the world right there on that holy hay. An Infant entered into a lowly stall, and the Presence of the Lord filled it up.
I feel a little like the innkeeper this Christmas and perhaps you do too. Like I’m creaking open a heavy door to an unimpressive room and awkwardly hoping He will make Himself at home in the midst of it. I had nearly forgotten to expect Him. In the midst of days that feel so normal and mundane and maybe even insignificant, I had nearly forgotten that God still comes near.
I don’t have this space prepared as I had hoped, but I do have space, and I want Him to be welcome here.
Perhaps the innkeeper got to hear the raspy cries that shattered the silence of that holy night. It wasn’t the silence that the world needed after all—it was the presence of that tiny Child in the middle of what had become the most unpredictable of evenings.
God had come. God is come.
We stand with the innkeeper and marvel at the massive grace of God in our unimpressive space. He has come again this Christmas to make Himself at home here in the hearts of hesitant innkeepers who almost missed the chance to make Him room.
He comes into our forgotten spaces. He comes into our silent nights. He comes into seasons that may not feel very festive, and He makes them holy and sacred and good.
May we swing the door back open and raise our voice a little to let Him know: “I do have a little room!” It isn’t much. Not by a long shot.
But the miracle of Christmas is Immanuel, God With Us, right here in the middle of our ordinary days.