Whatever became of the inn – the one whose keeper could not receive Mary and Joseph on the eve of Jesus Christ’s birth?

Some ancient man built that inn of stone or bricks of clay. Perhaps this builder mixed and spread something across its walls for a smooth appearance, then hung shutters to cover its windows, tamped down the dirt floor, firm and level, and attached a gate or door.

A man and a woman had made that inn their home, prepared food and drinks, and took in guests. Was it the only inn in Bethlehem? If so, then its proprietors were surely well known in town. Perhaps he was prominent in the synagogue, and she was sought out by other women in the town‘s well. This couple may well have had children and grandchildren of their own. Could they have been pleased to turn away the man from Nazareth with his pregnant wife?

Then, after Mary‘s child had been born in one of the inn‘s outbuildings and Herod‘s soldiers came to kill all the little boys in town, whom did the innkeepers lose to this slaughter? Grandsons, sons, nephews, and cousins all fell beneath the Roman blades. Sobs of grief must have echoed throughout that inn as family blood stained its floor.

So whatever became of that inn? It is gone, it is dust. Not only is the inn dust, the innkeepers have returned to dust along with all the jars in their kitchen and guests in their rooms. Only one artifact remains to memorialize their existence – the record of the birth of the Christ -child.

Maybe the story of the “too-full inn” is a parable for us in the season of Christmas: Of all the gifts and gatherings that fill your heart this month, which of them will remain when you have returned to dust? Only Jesus Christ really matters.



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