The Christmas story in Luke 2 holds a special place in many hearts.
It is one of the most quoted and read accounts in the Bible, especially around Christmas time. Our Father in Heaven loves us so much he provided a Savior for us.
Yet, the role of the innkeeper doesn’t have the best “wrap” (every pun intended) during the holiday season. We often think of the innkeeper as giving the Holy Family a meager place to stay.
Sort of like the crumbs off of a delicious cake.
But today, I want to challenge this thinking and suggest that perhaps the innkeeper offered his very best.
Luke 2, verse 7 reads:
“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 verse is tender for me for two reasons. One, as a mother, we want the very best for our children even before their births. We would do anything for these little ones who have now changed our lives. The second reason is my heart always goes out to the innkeeper.
The Meaning of Christmas Through the Eyes of the Innkeeper
I Cannot Judge the Innkeeper’s Heart
Elder Gerald N. Lund in his book, “Jesus Christ: Key to the Plan of Salvation” wrote:
“The throngs must have been incredible, the facilities throughout the city taxed beyond belief. And with Bethlehem only six miles south of Jerusalem, no wonder there was no room at the inn…The inns of the Holy Land were typically large, fortress-like buildings, built around a spacious open square.
“Called khans or caravanserai, they provided stopping places for the caravans of the ancient world. Just as modern hotels and motels must provide parking for automobiles, so did the caravanserai have to provide a place where the donkeys, camels, and other animals could be safely cared for.
“Inside the khan…all the “rooms” faced the courtyard. They were typically arched, open antechamber facing out onto the square. Here the traveler could build a small fire or sleep within clear view of his animals and goods…Even if there had been room at the inn, a caravanserai was hardly the ideal place for a woman in labor.
“Perhaps the innkeeper, moved with compassion at Mary’s plight and knowing of her need and desire for privacy, offered them his stable. Perhaps Joseph found the place on his own. The scriptures do not say.”
Thus, we cannot judge the innkeeper because we do not know his heart.
With the caravanserai being so bustling and busy, as Elder Lund explained, the innkeeper could have very easily turned Mary and Joseph away, or he could have been the means to their humble dwellings of the manger.
If so, perhaps this was the best he could offer them, the best his heart could offer with the yearning for it to be more.
Just as we do our part to offer the Savior our very best, even if on the outer appearance to man might seem meager and small. Thus, our heart is the place for where the Savior can enter. We ourselves are the innkeepers to our own hearts. We are the ones who determine if there is room for Christ.
If you keep him out because of fear of what he might see, please know how silly that notion is.
He suffered for your sins and already knows what is already in your heart. He is waiting for you to simply invite him in.
However much room you can give him, he will take. Then, you let his love fill your heart and mind, remembering and knowing that your worth is priceless and great.
Let us be a little more kind to our fellow travelers in this life, a little more patient, a little more caring. Let us remember the priceless gift of the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, and the ever-abiding love he has for each one of us.
May we rejoice in the good news of his birth, and the reality of his resurrection knowing because of him we can return to the presence of the Father once more.