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No Room at the Inn

Tonight we celebrate the most spectacular customer service snafu in the history of the world.

Two thousandish years ago, or so the story goes, a very pregnant refuge and her husband, who was not the father of the child, tried to get a room at an inn.

I’ve always loved that it was an inn. Inns connote warmth. Coziness. It causes me to picture this nice elderly innkeeper oh so concerned that he has to turn these sweet illegal immigrants away. What is he to do? Wait! An idea! “I can’t offer you a bed, but I can offer you a barn.”

In reality it was probably some asshole yelling at these foreigners to get out hotel. “But we have no where to go,” Joseph must have pleaded. “What do I care? Go sleep in the barn!”

The rest of the story we know, thanks to trumpJesus allowing us to celebrate Christmas again. The scene has been memorialized by countless nativity scenes, both live and plastic. It’s given rise to Black Friday and Santa Claus and the Hallmark Channel. It’s reinvigorated the career of Mariah Carey and kept overweight dudes with long grey beards employed at malls across America. Whether you believe the story or not, it has with out a doubt changed the course of the past two millennia of Western Civilization.

I’ve always felt a measure of sympathy for the innkeeper. It wasn’t his fault that Joseph didn’t make a reservation. What was he supposed to do- kick someone out of a room?

The answer, I believe, is yes.

I think this story is about making room. In order to make room, we have to clear out some space. Kick something out of a room. It might be as simple as making time. I’ve been “busy” the past few weeks so I haven’t been able to meditate. Of course I spend thirty minutes every night before bed on my phone playing the crossword. The first thing when I wake up I check the news and social media. I always have time for the Cubs or to hate read right wing relatives on social media. But I don’t have time to mediate?

So for 2020 I’m not going to think about what I can resolve to do better or more of. I’m going to try to make some room.

And I will fail. At least I’ll fail to do as well as I would like. But that’s the beautiful thing about stories- next December will roll around, and I’ll come face to face with this young pregnant refugee and her husband who is not the father yet again. I’ll remember what the innkeeper failed to do, and remember to not make that same mistake.

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