And Mary gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the Inn. Luke 2:7
I love this story about a second grade boy named Wally. I can’t remember where I got it from but I remember it being told to me that this actually happened in a small town in the Midwest.
Wally was 9 and in second grade. He should have been in 4th grade. Wally wanted to be a shepherd or an angel in the Christmas play but Miss Lumbard assigned him the “important role” of the innkeeper. I think it was because of his size and it had very few lines.
And so it happened that the usual large audience gathered for the town’s yearly extravaganza of beards, crowns, halos and a whole stage full of squeaky voices. No one on stage or off was more caught up in the magic of the night than Wally. They said later that he stood in the wings and watched the performance with such fascination that from time to time Miss Lumbard had to make sure he didn’t wonder onstage before his cue.
Then the time came when Joseph appeared, slowly, tenderly guiding Mary to the door of the Inn. Joseph knocked on the door. Wally the innkeeper was there waiting.
“What do you want?” demanded Wally, swinging the door open with a brusque gesture.
“We seek lodging.” “Seek it elsewhere.” Wally looked straight ahead. “The inn is filled.”
“Sir, we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled far and are very weary.”
“There is no room in this inn for you.” Wally looked properly stern.
“Please, good innkeeper, this is my wife, Mary. She is heavy with child and needs a place to rest. Surely you must have some small corner for her. She is so tired.”
Now for the first time the Innkeeper relaxed his stiff stance and looked down at Mary. With that, there was a long pause, long enough to make the audience a bit tense with embarrassment.
“No! Be gone!” the prompter whispered from the wings.
“No!” Wally repeated automatically. “Be gone!”
Joseph placed his arm around Mary and Mary laid her head upon her husband’s shoulder and the two of them started to move away. The Innkeeper did not return inside his inn, however. Wally stood in the doorway, watching the forlorn couple. His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, his eyes filling unmistakably with tears. And suddenly this Christmas pageant became different from all others.
“Don’t go Joseph,” Wally called out. “Bring Mary back.” And Wally’s face grew into a bright smile. “You can have my room.”
This season let’s make room for the Reason we celebrate Christmas.