Bishop Fulton Sheen once wrote the following: “When finally the scrolls of history are completed down to the last word of time, the saddest line of all will be, ‘There was no room in the inn.’”
We don’t know who the innkeeper was on that first Christmas Eve in Bethlehem some 2,000+ years ago. The Bible doesn’t tell us. He will remain forever nameless.
But Sheen was right in what he implied about this man. The innkeeper of Bethlehem really is one of the most tragic figures in human history — not because he did anything openly malicious or hateful or devious, but simply because he missed out on a tremendous opportunity. He turned away the Son of God, and so he missed out on the chance to have his life changed forever. He missed out on the opportunity to discover who God really is, and the power of God’s love. He missed out on the opportunity to discover the meaning and purpose of life. He missed out on the opportunity to experience a joy and peace that no amount of money can buy.
All because he said to Jesus, in effect, “I’m sorry, but there’s no room for you tonight in my inn.”
Whether we’re aware of it or not, each and every one of us is, in a certain sense, an “innkeeper.” And in our lives we constantly face the same decision that the innkeeper of Bethlehem faced on that first Christmas Eve. Inside of every human person there exists a kind of “inn,” and that inn is called a soul. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, desires very much to enter into our “inns” and to do for us what he wanted to do for the innkeeper of Bethlehem: he wants to change our lives; he wants to help us know and experience God and his love as we never have before; he wants to help us discover the meaning and purpose of life; he wants to give us a joy and a peace that is beyond all human understanding.
May we all allow Jesus to do that for us this Christmas, by opening our hearts to him. And may we do our best to encourage those with whom we share our lives to follow our example.
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