Saturday, December 26, 2015

Room in the Inn--Sorta

JrWooley6 / flickr

Maybe you read the story of the bathrobe drama at church. I think I read it first in Guideposts years ago. As Mary and Joseph stumbled to find their places on stage nobody was more enchanted by that night than little Wally. He stood in the wings waiting his turn. He was the innkeeper in the play--dumbfounded by the wonder of it all.

Joseph and Mary walked in and knocked on the door of the inn. Joseph knocked hard as Wally, the innkeeper was there, waiting. "What do you "want? Wally asked, swinging the door open. "We seek lodging," Joseph said. Wally spoke vigorously, "Seek it elsewhere. The inn is filled."

Joseph persisted, "Sir we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled a long way and are very weary." Wally shook his head. "There is no room in this inn for you."

Joseph was unrelenting. "Please, good innkeeper, this is my wife. She is heavy with child and needs a a place to rest. Surely you must have some small corner for her. She is so tired."  Now for the first time the innkeeper looked down at Mary. There was a long pause and the audience wondered what would come next. No one said a word.

The Prompter backstage grew nervous. She whispered, "Say: No! Begone!'  Wally said, "No!" and then added, "Begone!" Joseph laced his arm around Mary and slowly began to move away. The innkeeper just stood there watching the forlorn couple. His mouth was open but no words came.  But there were tears in his eyes.

And suddenly the pageant took a different turn. Wally spoke, "Don't go Joseph. Don't go. Bring Mary back." With a great smile Wally said,  "You can have my room." The audience broke up. Some left the program thinking the play had been ruined. Yet there were others that thought this was the best Christmas pageant they had ever seen.

As I thought about all those refugees fleeing Syria for their lives, I suddenly remembered Wally and his story. And just this morning I picked up yesterday's New York Times and read about Kamal, age 33, refugee from Syria. He is struggling to find a place for his family and himself in Texas. Read it. We Americans need to listen to the human side of the refugee crisis. Maybe if we ponder the reality of the enormous needs laid at our doorstep--we, like Wally might just begin to say: "You can have my room."

--Roger Lovette /

1 comment:

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