It's easy for us to judge the persons in the inn that night. How could they be so calloused as to shut the door against a very-pregnant young woman, even if she was stigmatized in her culture? How could it be that there was an entire hotel full of persons and not one of them would make room for her? How is it that an entire building full of individuals never heard a newborn baby crying? Certainly, someone should have made room for them after He was born.
And on and on and on we go, full of complete understanding about everything that was wrong with every single human being in the inn that night. Starting with the innkeeper, but not limited to him. Someone should have known. Someone should have had compassion. Someone should have cared.
But it seems to us that no one did.
(This is, by the way, how we get in trouble with understanding God. It's when we take this view where we seem to see so much and know so much and we're certain that we know what's best and it's easy for us to be angry at what really happened...it's why we think it's easy for God to be angry with us, because He sees everything with this kind of view...doesn't He?)
But what if the persons in the inn are not as evil as we think they are? What if there was more going on in that inn than we want to acknowledge?
What if...it was just noisy?
A manger is a noisy place. This is where everyone who was staying in that inn would have boarded their animals for the night. There would have been, most likely, servants of the inn who were down there, whose job it was to take care of animals boarded there. You know, like a concierge. And if the inn is full, just imagine all the animals down there making noise. Donkeys. Camels. Braying. Chewing their cud. Smacking their cud. We know we've got sheep not far off in a field, for here come a few shepherds with their flocks in tow.
Have you ever been in a barn? It's a noisy place. Don't let the song fool you - this was no silent night; not where Jesus was born.
So maybe the persons in the inn heard the noise from the manger, but it was...just part of the noise. Just part of the cacophony of sound coming out of there. Maybe they just expected it to be noisy and had learned to tune it out. After all, there were servants there; let them take care of the animals and the noise. That is their job.
The same thing is still happening at Christmas. This world we live in, it just expects a lot of noise. You can't have something like Christmas and not expect it to get loud. With the shopping and the baking and the cooking and the company and the traveling and the welcoming and the wrapping and the decorating and...you get the picture, how is anyone supposed to hear a baby crying?
Before we condemn our world for not recognizing the baby Jesus this Christmas, we have to ask ourselves the same thing we have to ask about the inn - can we really even expect them to hear Him?
Or is there just too much noise?
(And...are we part of that noise?)