By Fr.Ron Rolheiser, OMI
The story doesn’t suggest that the innkeeper was malicious or inhospitable. It says only that “there was no room in the inn.” In short, the man was booked up, full, there was no room for further guests, he already had all he could handle.
No room! No place for more guests! Booked up! No space for hospitality!
In these expressions, I see the reason why there is so little of Christ left in Christmas. It is not so much, I believe, our excesses in shopping, decorating, or partying that deprive Christ of a place, as it is our busyness, preoccupations, hurriedness, and agenda which fill the inn and leave no place for him. Our hearts and lives are too full for Christ to have a place.
That sounds like a harsh judgment, and it is. Looked at from the outside, our lives often do look selfish, inhospitable, idiosyncratic, and un-Christian. However, we are not bad people, nor are we, deep down, inhospitable. Beneath all the hurry, pressure, and preoccupations, our hearts are warm, unselfish and welcoming.
Then why aren’t we warmer and more hospitable? In brief, because we haven’t the time. There is not enough space within our lives for Christ.
Love and hospitality are not abstract. To have Christ in our lives involves something much more than creating time for him, time for the poor, time for hospitality, time for celebration, time for prayer, time for the itinerant couple who show up unannounced on a busy night.
We must create some room in the inn!