by Roger Thomas

The Lord Has Come: The Innkeeper’s Story
Roger Thomas
Luke 2:1-7
December 23, 2001

Introduction: This is the story of Christmas missed. This is the Innkeeper’s account of the birth of Jesus. Of course, we know nothing about the innkeeper. We don’t even know if there was one. All we know is that when Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem after the long one hundred-mile mountainous journey south from Nazareth to Judea, the inn was full. In a brief little cryptic statement, Luke simply tells us that Jesus was laid in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. I wonder how that innkeeper might have described that night? I wonder what his explanation might have been? We will never know for sure. But we can imagine. It could have been like this!

The Time: It is Christmas Eve by our calendars. Of course, they weren’t reckoning time that way then. It is evening. The December night is chilly.

The Place: Rueben Ben Obed’s Inn on the north edge of Bethlehem, a small village about six miles outside of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is a sleepy little village of a few hundred residents. It is, however, at the beginning of the main caravan route to Egypt so the village does get more than its share of visitors. The sign outside reads: Ben Obed’s: The House of Kings. In bright red letters beneath are the words: David Slept Here. King David didn’t actually sleep there. Rueben’s house is less than three hundred years old, not nearly old enough for the great king to have visited it a thousand years or so before. But everyone likes the idea that Bethlehem was David’s hometown and maybe, just maybe, his family might have tended their flocks near Rueben’s family place. The house is not exactly an inn like you and I might expect. It is actually a slightly larger than normal home that is opened for guests as needed. It is more like a Bed and Breakfast than a hotel. It is also a very welcome source of a few extra shekels for the Ben Obed household.

The Occasion: Tonight th ...

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