Where is the Innkeeper?

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.

So reads those famous words of Luke 2:7. The innkeeper, a role I once played in a Sunday School nativity play, is not actually mentioned. We picture him shaking his head either heartlessly or helplessly, after Joseph raps on the door. The inn is full; they must use the stable or try somewhere else.

Of course, God’s providence determined that the glorious Deliverer would be born in a dirty, humble place, encapsulating the spirit of His mission, the condescension of His coming. Yet that innkeeper, if room he could have found, might today have been remembered by name and celebrated across the world. For rejecting the holy family’s request of hospitality, he remains a nobody, a faceless entity, a curious detail conspicuous by his absence. In years and aeons to come, no one will care about what you wore or what you cooked -  only whether you received Christ, not into your inn, but into your life.


Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,

When Thou camest to earth for me;

But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room

For Thy holy nativity.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.


When the heav’ns shall ring, and her choirs shall sing,

At Thy coming to victory,

Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,

There is room at My side for thee.”

My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,

When Thou comest and callest for me.

-Emily Elliot

Image by Welcome to All ! ツ from Pixabay