And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a degree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed……….And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city, Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem;(because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. KJV Luke 2:1-7
No room for them in the inn. Has that ever happened to you? It has happened to David and me. One time when we were traveling, we stopped in a college town to find a motel. We didn’t know that there was a major football game happening there between two rival teams and we could not find one motel with a room in that town. We traveled to the next town. Same thing. So we drove and stopped at motels and I would run in and ask, “Do you have a room?” and I was told several times, “No, sorry.” So we had to drive a good distance from the first town we had stopped at to find a place to lay our heads that night. I kind of understood how Joseph and Mary felt when they arrived in Bethlehem and they could not find a place to sleep. Plus, Mary was in her ninth month of pregnancy and was due any time.
Not a whole lot has been written about the innkeeper who told them they could stay in his stable. Some think he was cruel. Others say, “How dare he not give a room to the holy family?” Well, he didn’t know at the time they were a holy family. Only Mary and Joseph knew who the baby was that Mary was carrying. God’s only Son. I am sure they had kept it quiet ever since they found out Mary was pregnant and still a virgin.
In Bethlehem in those days, there weren’t motels and hotels like we have today. Most inns were probably quite small and accommodations were probably crude, at best. No white, fluffy towels. No showers. No bathrooms, probably. No little bottles of lotion and shampoo. So, all the inns were full to capacity because people had come to Bethlehem to be taxed. The city’s inns were overflowing, kind of like when there is a Super Bowl happening in a city and you can’t find a motel room anywhere.
So, here is an innkeeper, looking at this young couple at his door. The girl(Mary was probably in her teens) was obviously pregnant and he had no more rooms to let. What was he to do? He had a stable( more like a cave) that he knew was dry and warm and had clean straw, so he gave them the choice of staying there and they took it.
If you have never been in a barn, you would not know that it can be a very cozy place. When I was growing up. I played in my daddy’s big, red barn almost every day. In the Summer it was cool. In the Winter, it wasn’t exactly warm and toasty, but it was comfortable. If there were cows, pigs and my horse in it, it was warmer because of their warm bodies heating it up. I loved the smell of the barn. I would lay in the straw in the barn loft and play with kittens that were born between the hay bales. A stable is not the worst place you could find yourself.
So Mary and Joseph went to the stable and looked around and found a manger, from which the cattle ate, probably found some straw and padded it and awaited the birth of their son. And when Jesus was born, they found some rags in the stable and wrapped him up in them and laid him in the manger. Why would God allow His son to be born in a lowly place like a stable? Prophets had foretold hundreds if not a thousand years before Jesus’ birth, that he would be born to a virgin, of humble estate. There are several reasons why Jesus was born in the stable, but the main one was to show the world the humbleness of the man that would be. That he came, not to conquer the world, but to save it. It may have been God’s way of protecting Jesus because the king of that country was looking for the Savior and king that was to be born. He would never have thought of looking in a stable for a king.
Anyway, I believe the inn keeper was in God’s plan. He provided the humble place for Jesus to be born. He was not mean. He did the best he could.
In this glorious season celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, and that is what Christmas is really all about, let us thank God for the wonderful blessing he gave to us that first Christmas day and say a thank you to the inn keeper who provided a safe, dry and warm place for the holy family to stay. May our hearts provide a place for Jesus in them, too. Bye.