Rustlings (January 9, 2017)

Now that Christmas season has passed, I feel free to spoil the story. (Most folk know this… it’s really not a spoiler.) Here it comes. Brace yourself. There was probably no innkeeper in the Christmas story. There, I said it. In Luke 2:7, the Apostle writes, “(Mary) laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” The word translated ‘inn’ actually means ‘guest room’ and most likely referred to the guest area of the family home. After all, families had to travel back to the home of origin to be taxed. Homes weren’t very large. Every home had a stable area for animals. And… there just weren’t many hotels in first century Israel. So, there probably wasn’t an innkeeper in the Christmas story. But, I loved playing the Innkeeper in the Kindergarten Christmas Play last month. I loved being able to find Jesus’ family a place to stay!

We all may get to play innkeeper this year! We may have the opportunity to find a family a place to stay. Laura Stout – our Missions Coordinator – has been working with World Relief to allow our church to be a Good Neighbor Team with a refugee family. We had hoped to assist a Syrian family, but due to restrictions in our state, this will not be the case. This is a one-year commitment that includes: helping a family get settled into an apartment, taking them grocery shopping, inviting them to our homes for a culturally appropriate meal, practicing English (… and maybe learning their language), all in the context of a growing relationship. If you are interested in supporting and/or assisting with this wonderful opportunity, please attend one of the 45-minute information meetings being held here at FBG – Wednesday, January 25, at 4:00pm in the Parlor or Sunday, January 29, at 9:00am in the Fellowship Hall.

So maybe there was or maybe there wasn’t an innkeeper in the Christmas story. Either way, someone was family and friend to the young couple in need. Later in the holy family’s life, they had to flee to Egypt to escape the murderous brutality of King Herod. Then, someone in a foreign land was neighbor, family and friend to them. When we do it to the least of these, we do it to Jesus. I’m looking forwarding to another shot at being an innkeeper through World Relief. Peace.

— Jim