by Ron Clarkson

The Innkeeper
Ron Clarkson

Prayer: Father, we are gathered here tonight for a special celebration, the celebration of the birth of your Son and our Lord. How magnificent the story, God the Father of heaven giving the world His most precious gift ever, His son, wrapped in a small. package, a baby boy born in Bethlehem.

Father, this evening as we celebrate Christmas together, will you take us back, take us back in history some 2,000 years. In our mind's eye take us back to that cold winter night in that little town of Bethlehem. Help us see thru the eyes of the Innkeeper what Joseph and pregnant Mary must have seen as they were looking for a place of rest, a place of shelter, a sanctuary for the delivery of their baby, the Christ child. Amen.

If you would have been in my sandals that night, you might have understood. I was exhausted, worn out. I hadn't taken a break all day, and I haven't had a day off for about a month, and all I wanted was to go to the hills and rest, take a break.

Bethlehem was swollen from the influx of travelers because of the census. My inn was packed, but I just wanted to escape, I was so . . . so tired. And even though I had no vacancy, people kept coming, and I hated to turn people away. The look in their eye when I said, I'm so sorry, but there is just no more room, just no more room. My name is Thaddeus, my name is known throughout Bethlehem. Thaddeus, the Innkeeper, everyone knows Thaddeus, president of the chamber of commerce, heads up the welcome wagon committee, coaches the kids chariot racing team, they all know Thaddeus. . he would help anyone with anything at any time. And I would, I really would. It would just break my heart to see people who needed a room, a place to rest their head, to get rejuvenated, and I wouldn't have any place to put them. . . anywhere.

We were so full that we had people in storage rooms, sleeping over there in the court yard. How did I know it was going to be on that night, that very night? ...

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