Was it a professional innkeeper at a motel? Or was it another Palestinian peasant who took in friends but didn’t have room for Jesus? We don’t know. But we do know there was someone standing in a doorway to a motel or house that looked at Joseph and Mary and said, "Sorry."
Have you ever wondered if that person ever found out that the baby he turned away turned out to be Jesus?
If Mary came to my door for a room to bear Jesus Cheryl and I would let her in immediately! Wouldn’t you?! Who would intentionally deny Jesus a bed to be born in and laid upon? Not me! We would be totally accommodating.
But would we? Jesus said, "Whatever you do for the least of people you do for me" (Matthew 25:40). He also said, "Whatever you don’t do for the least of people you don’t do for me" (Matthew 25:45). What do we do for other people? What don’t we do for other people?
Kim Pruitt lives in Searcy, AR. She writes about a recent experience while out Christmas shopping:
"As I was walking out of the store, I decided I'd better sit down and check the receipt. I chose a seat next to a nice-looking elderly lady. I asked if she was cold sitting so near the doors and she said she was fine; she was just waiting for her son and daughter-in-law who had a lot of shopping to do. I got up and wished her a Merry Christmas and there was a look in her eye. I couldn't leave this woman to just sit all alone and wait.
I sat back down. She asked if I'd forgotten something. I said, "No, Ma'am. It's just not often that I meet someone so nice. Would it be alright if I sat here with you for awhile?" Her smile was so bright. She thanked me and began talking. I learned all about her family and her past. I learned about her wisdom and her experiences. She was a sharp woman of 84 years and admitted that her physical health was in decline, but she's loved and happy and well cared for. After 45 minutes, her son and daughter-in-law came to get her. I stood and said, "Oh, I suppose I need to get supper started. Thank you for humoring me. It's not often I get a chance to sit at Wisdom's feet." She had tears in her eyes and smiled up at me. She took my hand and whispered, "Thank you, Child. It's not often there is someone willing to sit with me at all. Have a Merry Christmas."
As I left Wal-Mart, behind schedule and tired, I knew. I knew that, although the Christmas Cards were addressed, the gifts were bought, the carols were being sung, and the children were watching "Rudolph"...I knew that only just then had I experienced The Spirit of Christmas." (Spirit of Christmas, Dec. 15, 2009; http://markpruittfamily.blogspot.com/ )
Whatever we do for the least of God’s people we do for him. We can turn those people away, and we turn Jesus away. Or, we can sit down and visit with them, offer them a meal, or serve them in any number of ways. And when we do, we are serving the Lord.
Someone may knock at the inn today. Welcome them in.