DAY 7: The Inn Keeper Read: Luke 2:1-7
Key Verse: Luke 2:7
‘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.’ (KJV)
When we picture the Christmas story, the most common image that comes into our minds is that of Jesus’ birthplace – the dark, damp stable, the sounds and smells that went along with it, and perhaps most powerful, the manger itself.
What is emphasised in Luke 2:1-7 is the fact that there was nowhere more suitable for Mary and Joseph to stay, and ultimately, for Mary to give birth – because ‘there was no room for them at the inn’ (KJV). Only Dr Luke gives us this detail – perhaps given his occupation he wanted to note the lack of a more hygienic place to have a baby!
However, when we look at the literal translation of ‘inn’ used in the KJV, the word ‘kataluma’ is more accurately translated as ‘guest room’ – it’s the same word used in Mark 14:14 for the ‘upper room’ where Jesus had the Last Supper. So adjust your Nativity picture from the busy inn and stressed out innkeeper to the picture of a Joseph and a heavily pregnant Mary coming to a home, likely of someone they were related to or knew (being of the line of David), and being shown to the stable out the back. I don’t know about you, but for me, this translation paints a more poignant picture – it wasn’t just that the inn was full; it was that even with friends or family, truly there was no room for Jesus.
Isn’t it just the same for us today though – we are easily preoccupied with the ‘business’ of Christmas – the shopping, the Christmas dinners and events, time with friends and family, even the church services – that we end up giving Jesus the most meagre of places in our lives and busy schedules. Yes, we make room, but could we do more to give him our ‘upper room’, our pride of place as honoured guest, closest friend, our Saviour.
In light of the Christmas story, let us make much of Jesus in all that we do this season – may he be at the forefront rather than just the undertone to all of our festivities. While there may not have been an innkeeper in Bethlehem, each one of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus.
By Laura McFarland