The Innkeeper

December 23, 2013
by Lori Ciccanti

Luke 2:7 – 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)

Although Scripture does not specifically mention him, the manager of the inn was responsible for turning Mary and Joseph away on the first Christmas morning. Have you ever wondered what type of person he was? For years, I pictured him as a mean, cold-hearted, and worldly sort of individual. Then one day, while reading through my Bible study lesson, I was challenged by the following question:

"What do Christians have in common with the Bethlehem innkeeper?"

Now I had to re-evaluate my judgment of the innkeeper's character. It is certainly feasible that he did not refuse Mary and Joseph, but sent them to the barn; it was just a simple case of "no room". My previous impression that he was not even concerned about a young mother about to give birth may have been quite wrong.

Yet in one way or another, I think that we can all relate to the innkeeper's story. Many times, we also shut God out in the cold without ever realizing it. We become so preoccupied with trivial matters; even as we celebrate the Lord's birth, He sometimes gets left out. Unfortunately for the innkeeper, he never knew that it was God's Son whom he turned away.

Christmas or not, it is business as usual for most of the world. Nevertheless, as for the innkeeper, this special day may come to those who are not seeking it. Hence, how can we, as believers, take this opportunity to share the glad tidings of our faith with others? Moreover, in what ways can we make more room for Jesus in our personal lives?

Prayer: Father, we thank You for the precious gift of Your Son Jesus. May we always have room for Him in our hearts so that others will see His love reflected in us. In Christ's holy name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the reminder, Lori, and Merry Christmas to you and those you love.


    Dear Lori: Ah, the mystery and wonder of Christ’s birth!
    Love and blessings.


    Lori, thank you for reminding me to praise God for the birth of His Son in this crazy busy time before Christmas.


    Lori
    May we all pray your prayer in our approach to this Christmas day.
    God bless you and your family as we celebrate this Christmas.


    Lori,
    So true we had the same discussion in our life group in church yesterday.
    Wishing you and your family the best Christmas and blessings for 2014.


    Dear Lori!
    Thank you for writing a lovely thought provoking devotional. It set me thinking about barns.
    Settlers built their barns before they built their houses.
    Merry Christmas, everyday!


    Dear Lori,
    I was moved to tears as I read your devotional. It is beautifully written, especially by sharing your reflections that many others have had re: the innkeeper. The line in your prayer, “May we always have room for Him in our hearts so that others will see His love reflected in us,” is the desire of my heart today and always.
    Keep inspiring us.


    Good Morning Lori.
    The Native People have an expression; “do not judge a person, until you have wallked for a day in their moccasins,” How very true. The innkeeper, and the stable were all part of Jehovah’s plan for making the birth of our Saviour as humble as it could be. That way, once his ministry started, He could relate to everyone – from ‘commoners’ to ‘kings’: although there is no record of Him ever talking to a “king”. I believe the manger was meant as a lesson in humility for all of us.
    Blessings to you and those you love, the Advent season and always.


    Hi Lori,
    Your devotions always have food for thought.
    Here’s my impression of the innkeeper who offered space in the stable.
    Because of the census all the inns in Bethlehem were filled by the time Mary and Joseph arrived and this man was the only one who didn’t summarily turn them away but, instead, offered them the only warm shelter he had left.
    I have no doubt that he was totally aware of and humbled by what ensued and the privilege he had of sheltering the Holy Family. Although it doesn’t say so in the Bible, I’m certain that as soon as room became available in his inn they were moved into it.
    Have a wonderful Christmas.
    Blessings.


    Lori you are so correct in your statement of how we often shut our Lord out in the business of the season. This is such a busy time of the year we get caught up by our individual need to fill the hours of the day with food, family, and fun. Jesus is the reason for the season — we need to draw to Him who can fill the emptiness that is ours without Him.
    I pray your celebration of Christmas this year 2013 will allow time to draw closer to God through His Son Jesus. the Gift to all of us is Jesus our Saviour. My husband and I are in our 70’s and tho Christmas is 2 days away we all ready have experienced a miracle of God in our neighbourhood.
    Blessings to you and yours and all the best in 2014.
    I am most thankful to the authors of the Daily for their kind, considerate, expressions of their individual Christian wisdom.


    Dear Lori,
    I’m glad you changed your mind about the inn-keeper.
    Yes, the inn well might have been very full before Mary and Joseph arrived. And the inn’s stable could have been the most private place for the baby, Jesus, to be born. Thank God for the stable!
    I was once on a tour of Israel in late fall, and left Israel to return to Canada wearing summer clothes in November.
    That inn-keeper could also have become a believer in the grown adult, Jesus Christ, for Jesus went about the country preaching from when he was about 30 until he was about 33 — if the inn-keeper lived that long.
    And Jesus was once in the temple hearing and asking questions of learned men when he was 12 years of age. (See Luke 2:31-38.) “Everyone was amazed at his understanding and his answers.”(But we cannot make any great an issue of Jesus’ influence when he was growing up for this is the only mention in the scriptures of anything that took place in his life between his infancy and his adulthood.)
    Thank you for your prayer.
    Keep writing.


    Hi Lori,
    Thank you for your devotional. I read one time about this scene at the inn in Bethlehem. In those days an “Inn” consisted of a number of rooms built around a court yard. The rooms were open at the front facing the yard and during busy times the rooms would be full and the people would congregate in the court yard, they would also do their cooking there on open fires. The Inn keeper may have thought that that was no place for a pregnant woman and sent them to the back of the inn to the quiet stable.
    While I worked in the Middle East I saw this in the form of a hospital. There again the rooms were in a circle aound a yard and the woman who was to give birth would occupy a room with a helper, useally a close relative. And they used to bring all the family who would camp out in the court yard kids running around, yelling, screaming and playing and the doctor put a stop to it. Just the one to give birth and a helper and that was it. That’s how I picture the Inn at that time, and it seems quite feasable that the inn keeper thought it would be better for them in the quiet of the stable rather than the rowdy noisy courtyard area.
    Blessings.


    Lori:
    A great message reminding us the “Inn Was Full” and the Inn Keeper very easily could have sent Mary and Joseph on their way, closing the Inn door behind them and not giving their welfare or situation another thought. However God, had other plans, and in His own marvelous wisdom knew what was going to take place and had a very special cave set aside for Mary to go to deliver Her first born son, God’s Only Son. A cave that the Inn Keeper offered the young couple who were very pleased to accept his kind ovver.
    As a child, I too, thought the Inkeeper was a cruel man sending poor Mary away when she was great with child, and about to deliver, however after my conversion, I soon realized, this birthplace was also part of God’s wonderful plan and the Inn Keeper just one more person God was using to His glory.
    I often lie awake at night thinking of the Announcement, made by the Angel, the shepherds, the wise men and all who were involved in the birth and early life of our Lord and envy them for the blessing they had in knowing Christ personally while He was young. It must have been a marvelous experience to know Him then.
    However I must not forget, we who love Him will indeed one day get to know Him and be part of His wonderful family in eternity.
    Again, thank you for a marvelous message. You always give me lots to think about.
    Christmas Eve afternoon, God Bless you all.


    Very thought provoking Lori.
    The prayer is one I think we all need to say frequently.


    So good. I still love your writings.
    Happy New Year.
    (OK USA)


    Bless you for the write up.
    I never think of the role the Manager at the Inn played in Christ’s Birth.
    I rather found myself contemplating on Joseph’s role this Christmas.
    He “knew” Mary not, I’m sure he had not even kissed her yet alone to go to bed with her. He must have taken the news (pregnancy) hard but thanks to the works of the Holy Spirit.
    He’s such a gentleman (many men even deny pregnancy knowing very well
    they are responsible) who didn’t want to bring disgrace to his fiancee and would rather opt to separate with her.
    Thanks for the twist to the Christ’s birth on the role of the Manager of the Inn.

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