Summary: Are we too busy for Jesus at the time of His birth? Do we even care?
Many Don’t Care – The Innkeeper’s Apathy
Purpose: To help every believer and non-believer make Christ a priority in their everyday lives.
Scripture Focus: Luke 2:1-8
Christmas is becoming “Christ-less” in our day because we are losing the focus on what the holiday is all about from the beginning. Santa becomes a substitute for Christ. He’ll give you presents whether you were bad or good. The focus on giving gifts allows the priority of worshipping Jesus to shift toward temporary things. The priority of the Christmas message is that God sent His Son Jesus to this earth on Christmas Day to give His life for the sins of the world. It is probably an unfair depiction, but the Innkeeper’s apathy in the Christmas story mirrors many today. We don’t know enough about the one who told the family of Jesus to, “sleep out in the barn,” to commit him to eternal suffering. Maybe that was the best he could do. Here is an account of his defense. (Spiritual Formation dept. Wesleyan)
"Reflections of the Innkeeper"
How was I to know! How was I to know!
They looked no different than a dozen other families I had already turned away. How was I to know that they were special.
Do you have any idea what I was going through that night? Never in my lifetime have I seen such an upheaval of people. You think your highways are crowded at Christmas time - you should have seen ours. Try to imagine what it would be like if your government announced that within 30 days, the head of every household must return to their place of birth. Think of what that would mean - just for your family. Then multiply that by everyone you know.
That was our situation. A decree went out from Caesar Augustus - and the result was chaos. People were moving in every direction. Roads were chocked with travelers, food supplies ran short, water was at a premium - and so was housing!
Caesar’s decree was, for me, the chance of a lifetime. Many of the families who returned to Bethlehem stayed with relatives or friends. But many families had neither - and they needed lodging.
My inn was completely full, night after night. I raised the rates - and my inn was still full! I upped them again - no matter! There were always those who could afford the price I asked. It seemed as if all the rich were gathered under my roof. I’m not a friend of Caesar’s, but Caesar was certainly a friend to me.
You disapprove? Would you have done any differently? I have a wife to support and five children who never stop eating! The census was my chance to make a killing and I was busy doing that.
And then - they stood at the door. The inn had been filled since the 9th hour - but there they stood - asking for a room. I had already turned the others away, and so, I told them the same thing: "There is no room."
But as I spoke with the husband, I saw the weariness in his face, and I wondered when last they had rested. And when I looked into his eyes, I saw not only fatigue, but a desperate pleading to be listened to.
And then, I saw the woman. Her body was heavy with child, and her face was tightening with the first spasms of labor pain. As the father of five, I had seen that look before. I knew that her time was very near. I told them there was no room in the inn, but if they wanted to, they could bed down with the animals.
I thought I was doing them a favor - especially since I did not charge them the going rate. I let them have it cheap!
I didn’t know they were special. But because of who they were, you think of me as the one who said, "no room," and put the Holy Child out back with the animals.
"No room" are the words I’m known by. "No room" has become my name. "Mr. No Room", the Innkeeper - that’s the only thing you know about me. But perhaps that’s the only thing any of us need to know about each other. Is there "room" or "no room" for the Christ Child?
Perhaps that’s the crux of Christmas - making room.
I missed that child because I was too busy to realize what God was doing. With all due respect to the Almighty, he could have chosen a more convenient time - when my life was not so crowded with responsibilities and opportunities that needed my immediate attention. At a convenient time, I would gladly have made room for him.