I would really hate to have been an innkeeper in Bethlehem. I can only imagine the conversations that took place the day after Jesus’ birth.
“Did you see that star last night? It shown so bright in the sky it lit up the whole night. It seemed to be shining right over that manger.”
“I hear a baby was born.”
“Who refused to rent them a room?”
Did the innkeeper hang his head in shame when he heard the gossip? Did he regret not letting the baby be born in his inn? I don’t know. I doubt it. It was an insignificant birth, remember?
We’ve all done it, you know. We’ve all said no when we wondered if we should have said yes. The person who wanted to borrow money; the homeless woman on the street corner; the badly dressed man who came up, panhandling for a dollar; the Salvation Army worker, ringing his bell by the CHRISTmas kettle. Did you turn away? Did you tell them you had no room? No room in your heart for helping, no room in your life for others? It’s too easy. It’s too easy to dismiss those insignificant people. The ones who make us feel glad we’re not them. The ones that we say, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.”
I met a raggedy-looking man in the mall parking lot about twenty years ago. He was selling keychains made from beads that spelled WWJD. I really didn’t want it, so I politely declined and started to get into my car. I stopped when the man asked me if I knew what WWJD stood for backwards. Taken aback, I admitted I didn’t. He said, “Devil Just Won’t Win.” I love that. And, yes, I bought a keychain. It’s a little worse for wear after all this time, but it’s still part of my keychain.
Of all the things I’m thankful for, I’m mostly thankful that God is not an innkeeper. I’m glad He has room in His heart for me. I’m thankful I don’t have to have a reservation to talk to Him, to be welcomed into His house. I’m thankful that He sent his Son to redeem insignificant me. And mostly, I’m thankful that His Son lived the most significant life and played the most significant role in the history of the world.
I’m going to try and remember that no matter how small I may think someone is, that my Father thinks they’re important enough to love them and send His Son to die for them. Maybe if I can hold on to that thought, I’ll end up with another keychain that daily reminds me that with God in my corner…the Devil Just Won’t Win.