A few years ago, My Dear and I along with Billy were gifted an amazing gift-a trip to Israel.
While on the trip we were able to see so much and learn even more! We of course went to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Interesting enough, any place thought to be holy has a church built on top of it. This was the believed birth place of Christ. It was heavily decorated and it was impossible to visualize it as a stable with all of the candles, paintings, and fancy lighting which was needed since we were in a basement. Yep, that is it in the picture above. The location was crowded and people were packed in for a Christmas carol and then lead out like an elementary field trip.
Our guide then took us next door. It was not crowded at all, actually our group was the only one there. It looked far more like a stable of that time would appear, stone and cave like. The guide then shared that most groups did not go there but he wanted us to see it. The place where we were was where the Inn would have been....(such a poet, arent' I! ) It is the place were the so called nasty Inn Keeper turned away the Christ Child--who would do that?
The hotel of that day were one large room that everyone slept in together-everyone staying in the hotel-everyone! It would be filled with noise and people drinking and partying. So when Mary and Joseph came to the door, the so called grumpy Inn Keeper had compassion for them. He did not want Mary to be in that environment while she had her baby. He wanted privacy for her. He wanted Joseph to be able to care for her without fearing for her and the baby in the setting. He wanted baby Jesus to have a "Silent Night."
I ran my fingers over the stone realizing this is more what it would have been like, like this Inn, cold and hard and how sweet a bed of straw must have been.
I thought about the gruff image I had of the Inn Keeper and my heart was filled with thanksgiving for the compassion he showed this young family. So it seems to me the Inn Keeper has gotten a bad wrap. He truly had the families best interest at heart. He had room for Jesus in his stable and likely in his heart too!