And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. – Luke 2:7
The arrival of Jesus into our world takes place in a setting far from what one would expect for the King of kings. Luke’s gospel tells us Jesus was placed in a manger. A manger is a feeding trough for animals. This was more than likely located in a stable or cave that served as a place to keep animals safe. It is a now-famous setting, but I can’t imagine Mary was overjoyed at the possibility of this being her baby’s first place to sleep.
When we read the Christmas story, we easily find ourselves feeling sad for Mary and her family. When I think of all the work and preparation my family went through before we brought each of our children home, I can only guess that Mary was delighted to have a healthy baby boy and sad to have him in such accommodations. How sad Mary and Joseph both must have felt when they were told, “There was no place for them in the inn.”
Luke leaves out an important detail. How did Joseph and Mary find themselves in a stable? I believe this family found hospitality even though there were no available spaces in the inn. I can see the innkeeper scurrying to make a warm, comfortable and clean place for Mary. It was not much, but it was shelter and it was private. The innkeeper offered what he had, a small act of hospitality.
Mary and Joseph could have easily been turned away, but they were not. This small act of kindness, offered by a stranger, set the scene for the greatest event in history. Soon the angels would sing, the shepherds would come to worship and the whole world would be changed. We should never overlook the importance of small, intentional acts of kindness. Our kindness can set the scene for amazing things.
Rev. Keith King, Online Campus Pastor