Photo taken over Amen Acres farm by Wesley Shank
They missed him, the inn keeper and his family did.
But you can't blame them, really. They were flat-out frantically busy! Town was full! Thousands, even millions, were traveling from all over the world for the special decreed taxing by Caesar Augustus. I can identify with the inn keepers; in fact, my heart goes out to them. I'm familiar with that pressure! This flood of travelers must have seemed like a heaven-sent blessing. When again in their lifetime could they expect 100% occupancy every night, for weeks on end? 100% occupancy even at the inflated prices of a sold-out inn! So they missed him that first Christmas Eve.
He was at their door, but they turned him away. Their inn was full and their life was busy. Their inn, their family inn at Bethlehem, came so close to being forever remembered as the birth place of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God... But they turned him away.
Instead, all the honor, even 2013 years later, goes to the stable and the manger. We only remember the inn from this unfortunate line, "There was no room for them in the inn." Deep irony here, friends.
"Important busyness" distracting us to miss a visit from God himself?
This touches a tender spot with me and I suspect you feel it, too. I'll not flesh out my meditations since I don't have much time to write and you don't have much time to read and you get the point. But please stick with me for just a bit... This is not all historic. Thirty-three years after the inn keepers missed him, Jesus, as a teacher, warned his inner circle of students that the same "missing" is very likely to repeat when he returns to earth the second time.
Here are his tender words to his closest friends just before he died, "Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you unexpectedly." (Luke 21:34) The cares of this life. The simple cares of this life. Take heed! The absolutely-important-must-be-done cares of this life are just as insidiously damaging as carousing and drunkenness if they cause us to lose focus and miss him. Think about it... every day! May God bless all of you this Christmas and New Year's season. Your Farmer ~ Edwin Shank