December 30, 2022:  Innkeeper

Grace Frounfelker wrote “It Happened to Ordinary People” as seven monologs that retrace the events surrounding Jesus’ birth through the eyes of certain key characters. We present them here as a special series of devotions this Christmas season. This is from Innkeeper.

These aren’t ordinary days. Ever since the Romans called for this new census there hasn’t been one night that my inn hasn’t been filled.

Take last week, for instance. It was mid-afternoon, and I had one empty room. This young couple asked for a place for the night.

The woman was very pregnant and looked as if she were in labor. Now that wouldn’t guarantee a peaceful night for my guests, would it? I couldn’t take the risk. Just then this Roman pushed past them and demanded a room. He flashed a ten-dollar bill and winked. Now you can’t afford to offend the Romans; it’s not good for business. So, I gave the room to him.

By noon the next day this wild story was all over Bethlehem. A woman had given birth to a baby boy in a stable out on the edge of town. The shepherds on night watch in the hills around Bethlehem swore that an angel told them the baby is the Messiah we have been expecting for hundreds of years. I checked it out with my brother-in-law; he’s one of the night watch. He swears it is true. He saw the angel himself.

Now I’m a religious man. I go to the synagogue every Sabbath and pay my tithe faithfully. But it never dawned on me that God would want to meet me here, in my own place of business.

It’s unnerving! Now I look into the face of every customer who comes to my door, and I wonder, is God giving me another chance?

Grace Frounfelker