Lessons from the Christmas Inn Keeper (1st of a 5 Part Series)

Saturday Morning Devotional

Lessons from the Christmas Inn Keeper

I love Nativity Scenes! In fact, I have several of them – some are homemade, some were gifts, and others were purchased. Not too long ago I shared one that I recently got from a craft fair. It is very simple with the common Nativity set figures. Even though there is no inn keeper in the set, I think we can take a look and learn lessons from the Christmas Inn Keeper.

Nativity set lighted
Handcrafted Tea Light Nativity

All Nativity scenes have Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, but there can be other characters included as well. You may have shepherds, wise men, angels, and animals, but you probably won’t find an inn keeper. He played an important role in the story, but he was definitely behind the scenes.


I wish I had more details about the inn keeper. It is easy to judge when you don’t have all of the details. It is also easy to say what we would have done if we had been in that situation. However, we weren’t there. We probably would have done the same thing.


What I do know is that people were in town from all over the country to register for the census. Have you ever left on a trip, not knowing exactly when or where you were going to stop so you didn’t make reservations for lodging? This happened to us a couple of summers ago, and everywhere we stopped had no vacancies – except for the ones where I didn’t want to stop. It was very frustrating! I can’t imagine being in that situation and being in labor!


“Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn.” Luke 2:7


The Bible says that there was no room for them at the inn. This leads you to believe that there was only one inn in Bethlehem. I wonder if there were more places in town. If so, did Mary and Joseph stop at other places, being turned away each time? Who knows?


In defense of the inn keeper, if every room was full of people and someone tried to check in, he wouldn’t have had an option unless he kicked someone out of a room. We have the advantage of hindsight. Of course we would either kick someone out or give up our own room knowing that Mary was giving birth to the Messiah. What would you do for a random stranger though?


I like to think that the inn keeper tried to be a good host, even though he would have been very busy keeping all the guests accommodated. Maybe he checked on them during the night. Perhaps he brought them food and water. You would think he would have brought them a blanket or something. Maybe that is where they got the swaddling clothes.


There had to be such an amazing sight when Christ was born! Imagine the star shining so brightly right over your inn! Was he amazed or preoccupied?


Unless he was completely tied up with the other guests, he would have seen shepherds coming to visit and worship. Did he notice?

Regardless of what did or didn’t happen, we can learn lessons from the inn keeper. Let’s take these to heart not only during this Christmas season, but everyday:

  • Take advantage of ministry opportunities.
  • Don’t get so preoccupied with life that you don’t notice the spiritual things of the Lord.
  • Don’t get so tied up with work or activities that you don’t notice people or their needs.
  • Always make time for the Lord!


I wonder what our Nativity Scenes would look like today if the inn keeper had made room for Mary and Joseph. The lodging may have been somewhat different, but there might also be an inn keeper in our Nativity scenes.




“Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth.”

I John 3:18


“Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'” Matt. 25:45

Quote of the Week

reflect Christ's love




“While You Were Sleeping” by Casting Crowns is one of my favorite songs with a similar message and wonderful lyrics. Click here to listen to it.


Reminder – 5 of the Easiest Candy Recipes You Will Ever Find

candy recipes

Remember to subscribe to get these recipes. Even if you subscribed earlier, it will still send you the email to get the downloads. I cannot tell you how quick and easy these candy recipes are, right in time for Christmas! These are the candies included:

  • Peanut Butter Fudge
  • Creamy Chocolate Fudge
  • Nut Clusters
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars
  • Toffee (This is my new favorite!)


I hope you enjoyed today’s devotional! I look forward to the next few weeks as we look at some of the different perspectives of Christmas.


See the other posts in the series:

Lessons from the Christmas Star

Lessons from the Christmas Shepherds

Lessons from the Christmas Manger

Lessons from the Christmas Wise Men


Have a Grace & Joy-filled day!


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“When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” Psalms 94:19

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  1. This is such a great reminder to slow down and remember the reason for the season, Susan! I think about the inn keeper all the time and wonder if he knew his “gift of yes” by allowing Mary and Joseph to use the barn would change the world forever. It also reminds me that any gift no matter how big or small or humble or fancy can be used for His glory. We just have to be willing to offer! Big hugs, CoCo

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