The poor innkeeper! He’s been called cruel, heartless, clueless, stupid, and worse. He had an incredible opportunity to honor the birth of God’s son, but he missed it.
We shouldn’t be too hard on the poor fellow. After all, he didn’t know the most important baby ever born on earth was coming to his inn. He was busy!
Listen to writer Frederick Buechner imagining the innkeeper’s story — "When the baby came, I was not there," the Innkeeper said. "I was lost in the forest somewhere, the unenchanted forest of a million trees. Fifteen steps to the cellar, and watch out for your head going down. Firewood to the left.”
We can understand. Could have happened to anyone — even to me or you. We’ve been busy. Forgotten things. Missed things. It’s to be expected. Still, in Buechner’s story the innkeeper looks back with sadness: "All your life long, you wait for your own true love to come — we all of us do — our destiny, our joy, our heart's desire. So how am I to say it, gentlemen? When he came, I missed him.”
Yes, we can understand. He didn’t know. Busyness can do that.
But we know. “Unto us a son is born. Unto us a child is given” (Isaiah 9:6a). Given! To us! With the angels in heaven we can say, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14).
Don’t be an innkeeper this Christmas! Welcome Him with your whole heart.
“Lord, I am so glad you sent your Son. I won’t miss his birth this year no matter how busy it is. Amen.”
Go Deeper — Consider two things you can do to welcome Him this year more fully, one just for you and one with those you love.
Photo Credit: Ben White