I is for Inn –
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
The Bible doesn’t tell us any more than this about the accommodations Joseph and Mary had on the night Jesus was born. It is probable, based on historical teachings, that Jesus was born in a cave that doubled as a barn.
At the time of Christ’s birth Bethlehem was a small town four and a half miles south of Jerusalem. It was located on top of a low, but fairly steep ridge. There was nothing special about the town that distinguished it from the other “hamlets in the stony hill country of Judea”. It is possible that around 300 people lived there.
Despite it’s size, Bethlehem was a busy place. It was a stopping off point for caravans that were traveling to Egypt. A Palestinian version of an inn had been constructed there during the time that King David was alive (which was 1,000 years earlier). It was still in use at time of Christ’s birth.
I’m not sure why God wouldn’t have intervened and made sure a room was available, but He had to have had a good reason. It is possible that it merely goes along with Mary and Joseph’s status in society. No one, but they themselves, knew that they were about to birth into the world the King of Kings. Had people known, they probably would have been ushered into the most luxuriant of rooms for a proper birth – one fit for a King. Joseph was just common man, a laborer, and no one was going to give up their room for the child of a carpenter to be born.
It is possible that no one made room for Mary because of the nature of her pregnancy. She wasn’t supposed to be pregnant. She and Joseph had not been together long enough for her to be with child yet. People aren’t kind or understanding. They were living in times when women were put to death for such indiscretions. We don’t often give thought to all that must have entailed for Mary and Joseph, but it was certainly a difficult journey to take.
A third possibility was God’s plan to keep things low-key. Herod was a deeply troubled and unstable man who had killed members of his own family. It was imperative that Jesus remain alive to fulfill his destiny. A non-conspicuous birth would have made things more difficult for Herod to find the child that was “rumored” to have been born and was to become King.
Whatever the reason, he was born… He was protected…He fulfilled His mission…and, throughout history He has desired a relationship with each one of us. One thing is for certain, there is always room in His inn for any of us that choose to make Him Lord of our life. He will not turn anyone away.
Information from paragraphs 3 & 4 was found in “Great People in the Bible and How They Lived” and was published by Reader’s Digest in 1974.