Archived Story

The Places of Christmas: The Inn

Published 8:36am Monday, December 12, 2011

I imagine the innkeeper that dark night in Bethlehem knew a little something about busy-ness and exhaustion. People in town from miles away – tired and hungry – looking for a place to stay. There were probably some grouchy ones, some that complained, and undoubtedly a child or two who did not respond well to the change of routine.

The innkeeper was, I’m sure, wishing the days of the census were over, that the hustle and bustle would give way to the calm of normal life.

I can relate to that, can you?   Choir practices. Ornament exchanges. Caroling. Children’s events. Advent celebrations.  Nursing home visits. Cookie baking. Candy making. Christmas cards. Menus. Gift lists.  Decorations. Schedules. Traditions.


Do you spend your holiday in the place of busy-ness? I have to confess that far too often I do. Psalm 46:10 has been the cry of my heart this holiday season.  ”Be still and know that I am God.”

I find myself snatching moments of quiet even in the midst of the holiday frenzy.  Early morning time in the Word.   A few minutes of quiet in the car line.   Reading before bed while the tree lights twinkle in my room.

Stolen moments … grabbed where I can find them … taken from the chaos around me.

It’s a choice I’m making.  Sometimes an inconvenient choice, sometimes a difficult choice, but it’s what I know is the best choice.

A fierce determination not to let the busy-ness overtake me.

Sometimes the busy-ness becomes a badge of honor.  “I must be significant for I have all these important things I do.” Sometimes the busy-ness becomes an escape.  “I don’t want to think of what I’ve lost or what is missing so I fill the time with activities.”  Sometimes the busy-ness is simply habit.  “I always do these things.”

 It’s hard to stop the merry-go-round … sometimes it just won’t stop. Sometimes we must just jump off. Life will keep spinning around us,  but we can be still.

We can choose stillness … and when we choose stillness even when the busy continues something amazing happens…  

We notice.  We notice beauty.  We notice peace.  We notice people.

 In the midst of the busy night, an innkeeper was still in the midst of the busy and noticed a young woman great with child and her betrothed.

And what a difference that noticing made …

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