Inn Love

Thursday, December 27, 2012 Posted by Sara

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If I'm being honest, I admit, most often I have pictured the Bethlehem inn keeper as a bit of a jerk.  

I picture him as a miserly older man with a questionable mustache who quickly shuffles the holy family off to that shady stable on the back forty.

This holiday season, however, I find myself deriving a new backstory for this unmentioned Bible celebrity.  Inns in Jesus' day were likely homes of relatives, so it's possible that the inn keeper, was simply the patriarch of the family housing Joseph's family.  

And maybe he wasn't miserly.
Maybe his facial hair wasn't too crazy.
Maybe he was incredibly compassionate - and tired.
Maybe his house was busting at its seams filled with distant relatives from throughout the land.  
Maybe he'd been waiting on his guests for weeks.  
Maybe he loved the impromptu family reunion.  Maybe it was the worst timing imaginable. 

Maybe his heart sank when he saw them approach - not because he was crotchety, but because he saw Mary, heavy with child - and it reminded him of his own wife - or daughter.  
Maybe he gave Joseph a hug, sympathizing with him at the inconvenience of having to travel when his wife was in such a state.  
Maybe, in his exhaustion of taking care of his many guests, he embraced the couple and got right to work preparing the only space he had left to offer.  
Maybe he cleaned out the manger.
Maybe he had returned with swaddling cloths.  

Maybe he did not have much to offer, but he offered it with all his heart, soul, strength and mind.

Maybe somedays I have a lot to learn from the inn keeper.

"'Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?'...When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten." - John 6:9, 12-13

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