Susan Holt Simpson shares her story with us today about the crazy innkeeper. I have often wondered about him; Did he regret not having room for the holy family that night? I love that Susan’s boys played with the nativity characters, adding them to their daily play. I hope you enjoy it too.
That Crazy Innkeeper
It might be hard for you to imagine how many photos I manage to snap in the month of December. Let’s just say my husband was very happy when I stopped buying film and moved to digital images.
Here’s a favorite from the film days. It’s our play manger scene, composed of poorly-painted plastic figures, bought for a song at a local dime store. Many hours passed in play with those inexpensive figures, so many conversations about that holy night and the Good News of Christmas.
(Please don’t confuse this crèche with our no-touch manger scene, a semi-intentional holiday splurge. I always placed that one well beyond the reach of my three small sons. Those glass figures were only for looking, and they never appeared in a single holiday photo.)
Now my boys are almost-men, way beyond playing make-believe with crèche characters. But as it turns out, the ok-to-play-with-set has become the real Christmas treasure.
That angel soared through the entire house and returned safely to her place on the stable roof. Baby Jesus has been snuggled, taken out in the snow (His bed does look like a sled…), and fed at the breakfast table. Those kings, and the shepherds too, have been on special ops with GI Joes, and Joseph flew rescue missions in a red Fisher Price helicopter.
The Innkeeper Never Got Out to Play
But the innkeeper never got out to play, and my boys regarded him with mild scorn. “He said, ‘No Room’ to Baby Jesus? He was crazy, Mom, right?”
It’s so easy to find fault with others’ callousness toward the Lord, while ignoring or excusing our own mishandlings of the Savior. Yes, I long to be Mary in the story—“Behold, the handmaid of the Lord…”, or a Shepherd, filled with wonder, who “makes haste” toward Jesus. Yet too often I find myself in the role of that miserable innkeeper, busily blind to what is going on in the kingdom, missing precious glimpses of the Lord when He passes right in front of me. Do you know what I mean?
Do you see yourself in the Christmas story? [Click to Tweet This]
These patient, holy characters show the wear of many seasons spent with boys. The donkey is missing an ear, broken while galloping with the camels. Some figures do not have hands—it’s impossible to make a magi grip a sword. A shepherd’s flute is broken in half—why wouldn’t it play a tune? But they’re taking their places out there in the living room, in every sort of condition, welcoming the Christ Child in yet another Season of Joy.
And I always want to be among them.
Susan Holt Simpson is a freelance writer living in northern Kentucky. She has been married to her childhood sweetheart for twenty-seven years, and they are enjoying the adventures of life with three mostly-grown sons. As a literacy coach and a mothering mentor, Susan’s volunteer work in the local community keeps her busy. She has written for Focus on the Family and Guideposts, and writes online about parenting, gardening, and photography. Visit her at Sweet Annabelle Blog or find her on various social media including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Images by Susan Holt Simpson
A Nativity set that is perfect for kids:
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