The Innkeeper's Wife
by A. D. Barncord Doerr
Copyright © 1998
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped
him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in the manger;
because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)
I have often thought that we have been a bit too harsh on the innkeeper who put Mary and Joseph in the stable. Nowhere in the scriptures does it says the he was a rude, gruff man. In fact he was probably a gentle, quiet man whose inn was crowded with noisy travelers, drinking wine and swapping stories. He probably had a relative or two in his own room. I can hear him thinking to himself as he glanced back at his borders, "This is no place for a woman to give birth." He probably called his wife to his side. "What are we going to do?" he asks her, "She looks as if she's going to deliver any moment." His wife looks behind her and shakes her head, "There isn't room enough in here. We better make a place for her in the stable. Tell Daniel the lay out some clean straw and send some food out there. I will get some linens."
Grabbing the reins of the donkey, while Joseph carries Mary, the quiet innkeeper leads them to the stable behind the inn. Daniel s patting down the straw. A young girl comes out with food, drink, and an extra lamp. Joseph lays Mary down on the straw as the innkeeper's wife comes out with some blankets and swaddling. She is about to send Joseph out when he looks into her eyes and asks, "Please let me stay." Her face softens and she says, "Alright, but you have to eat something first."
I'm sure she helped with the labor. After all that traveling, I find it hard to believe that God would let Mary go through this great event without a midwife. I know there were heavenly hosts strengthening her, but I can't help but to believe that when Mary was chosen in the preexistence to be the mother of Christ, that another valiant sweet spirit went up to God and said "Father, please let me help her with the birth." And God smiling at his humble daughter, said "Yes, my little one, you may for you have proven yourself worthy for the task."
Perhaps she knew when she saw Mary's face that the Savior was coming into this world, but maybe it wasn't until she wrapped the baby and saw the radiance shining from him. She then gave the holy child to his mother and set about cleaning the stable up. She then took the child and layed him in the manger as she told Mary to eat and get some rest. She may have been still watching her patients when the shepherds started to come. She probably tried to get rid of them. But as she started, Mary called out, "Let them come."
The innkeeper probably came out then and quietly thanked God as he joined the shepherds' worship. Tears came down his cheeks as he heard the heavenly chorus. Then he looked into his wife's beaming face and went to her side.
"Isn't it wonderful," she asks.
"Yes, it is."
After awhile, when the shepherds start to leave, the innkeeper turns to his wife and says, "It's time to go in."
"But I need to be out here."
"Don't worry," he smiles gently, "God is watching over them." He leads her gently to the inn. "We'll send out breakfast in the morning."
In a way it is probably a good thing we don't know about the innkeeper's wife. After all, Christ said, "That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly." (Matt. 6:4) Imagine what blessings she would have received.
Copyright © 1998, Amanda D. Barncord Doerr