In this Xmas pandemic we should examine our roles as Innkeepers.
The Christmas Story and its accounts of travelling Mary and Joseph, the angelic visits to shepherds tending flocks in the neighboring fields, all hinged on an incognizant political decision by Caesar Augustus to levy a tax.
Notwithstanding, it is extremely easy to miss one saliently important message from the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. As recorded in the Gospel of Luke, “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.”
This often quoted and repeated scriptural verse does not say that “there was no room in the inn”. Instead it emphasizes, “there was no room for them in the inn.”
It is quite easy to assume that the unavailability of rooms was due to the town being crowded with hordes of people returning to their own city to be taxed.
However, as seasoned travellers would attest, especially in large cities
during international events such as political conventions, global business conferences etc. there is always a room. For the right price, the right connection and parlance with the right person — there is always a room for them in the inn.
Had Joseph and Mary been wealthy, the story would have been different; it is highly likely there would have been room for them.
There would have been room for them if they were people of prominence or politically powerful. There would have been room for them, if they were well-connected or members of the Bethlehem business elite.
But they were not.
This Christmas, we should all take a moment to examine our personal roles as innkeepers. Who will make room for the “for them” people of the
Needless to say some of the ‘’ for them” crowd are easy to identify, including the homeless, the lawless, the derelict and the drug- addicted. Others of the “for them” status are seen in the struggling poor, the fearful refugee, the asylum seeker or the child in need of a foster parent or an adoptive family.
And in the bustle of daily life it is common to ignorantly brush past
“for them” people who silently suffer with depression, mental disorders, loneliness or illness.
Not forgetting the fact that in our very presence there are “for them” individuals scorned by some who reject, ignore or humiliate those choosing to follow a different religion, philosophy or political persuasion.
Creating a physical place or an emotional space for the less fortunate and for those on the outside looking in requires humility, gratitude and compassion. These three attributes are actually gifts. The humility to bow in unostentatious prayer, the gratitude to look up in praise and the compassion to look around in order to lift others represents not only the path to
making room for those in need but reveals the passageway to discovering the “better angels of our nature.”
Additionally and conclusively, let us briefly ponder as we sing that well-known Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World,” it would be most prudent and contemplative to listen to the echo of the refrain, “Let every heart prepare Him room”.
There are many around us who are fervently hoping and desperately praying that there is room for them in our inns, our homes, in our lives and in our communities.
Will you make room?
Aleuta— The struggle continues.