Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
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LLOYD C. DOUGLAS

THE INN-KEEPER

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RGL e-Book Cover 2015©

A Christmas story published by
James Foster House of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 191?

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2015
Produced by Paul Moulder and Roy Glashan

Only the original raw text of this book is in the public domain.
All content added by RGL is proprietary and protected by copyright.

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THE REGISTER AT THE INN

Register 1 Register 1

MODESTLY boasting but few human virtues, Augustus had no intention of proclaiming a day of family reunions for his Jewish subjects when he published the edict commanding every Israelite to return, on a specified date, to the place of his nativity for enrollment.

Nor was it because Augustus Caesar greatly cared to know how many Jews there were that he had ordered the census. He needed money. The census was to furnish the figures upon which a new tax-levy could be based.

As the day drew near which was to summon thousands from the remotest corners of the province to their childhood homes, every city, town and hamlet was a-flutter with excitement. People were either getting ready to make the journey or shopping, baking and putting spare rooms to rights in anticipation of guests. Aged parents were counting the hours until their sons and daughters from afar would appear in the doorway. Merry parties were being arranged for the reunion of old friends who had not met since they were little children.

Of course, to some of the pilgrims, en route, this was only a business trip; for, in many cases, the old family home had been dissolved and none waited to welcome them. In some instances, the journey had been made at serious inconvenience. This was particularly true of two Galileans, Joseph and Mary, who arrived in Bethlehem, at dusk, after a long and weary trip from Nazareth. Nobody met them with affectionate embraces, at the edge of town, where so many happy meetings were taking place.

They proceeded at once to The Inn. It was packed to the roof. But the Inn-keeper seemed to understand their great perplexity and permitted them to lodge in his stable. Doubtless, they were thankful enough for its shelter. That night Jesus was born.

Certain Seers from the East, who for some time had followed the leading of a new, uncharted star, arrived soon after The Child was born and offered Him symbolic gifts, suitable for presentation to a king. A little company of Shepherds on the plains near Bethlehem, hearing celestial music and observing the peculiar star, left their flocks unguarded and hurried to the stable where they joined the Seers in worshiping The Child.

Nobody at The Inn went out to the stable. It was a busy night. Perhaps, if the people stopping at The Inn had been aware that The Child had been born who would achieve an influence greater than that of any temporal king and become Leader and Lord to countless millions, they might have gone out to see Him. Perhaps. It is not certain.

The Inn-keeper may have heard of the birth of a baby in his stable but it was almost too much to expect him to leave his houseful of guests to shift for themselves while he visited The Child. Maybe, if he had known that this event was so important the world would begin Time all over and refer to next morning's dawn as "the first day of Year One," he might have gone out to the stable. Maybe. It is not at all sure.

* * * * *

Late in the afternoon of December twenty-fourth, a Stranger invariably enters the office of The Inn, glances over the register and takes up the pen. He pauses. His face lights up with a smile as the joyous shouts of little children echo through the house. Happy guests are hurrying in and out, exchanging greetings and good wishes; merrily bumping into each other, on the stairs, with mysterious bundles under their arms. The walls are decorated with holly branches. A great fire is roaring up the chimney. The spicy odors of the kitchen drift through the hall. In an adjoining room, a jolly, little, old man, with a snowy beard and a red coat trimmed with white fur, is furnishing wild merriment for an ecstatic group.

As he dips the pen, The Stranger hears The Inn­keeper saying, "I'm so sorry, sir; but the house is full. I should be glad to keep you. We always have such a crowd over Christmas. I doubt if there is a room to be had anywhere in town. But we must find shelter for you. You can't spend the night in the streets. I wonder if you would seriously object to lodging in my stable?"

"You are very kind," replies The Stranger. "It is a good stable and has many pleasant remembrances for me."

"That's so," cries The Inn-keeper, reminiscently. "You customarily ask for a room Christmas Eve and, always being crowded, we send you to the stable. I remember now."

So; The Stranger unprotestingly goes to the stable. Christmas is celebrated out there, too. Not much merriment is to be expected, for the light is dim and the night is cold. But certain people always go to the stable, understanding that The Stranger will be there over Christmas, observing His Birthday.

A little group of Wise Men come. In His Presence, they forget all about the discomfort of the place. Tattered Shepherds, who might not feel quite so much at ease if they were to call on Him at The Inn, leave their flocks, which never run away, and sit at The Stranger's feet. To these Wise Men and Ragged Shepherds He presents rare gifts, such as The Secret of Abiding Joy, The Blessing of the Tranquil Heart, Eternal Hope, and The More Abundant Life. He would gladly offer these gifts to the merry guests at The Inn if there was a suitable opportunity. But they are all so very busy; and, besides, there is no room for Him at The Inn.

* * * * *

In the midst of the pre-Christmas mail comes the following letter from The Inn-keeper.


Register 1

The following message is just filed for dispatch to The Inn-Keeper in reply to his letter.

Register 1


THE END


Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is in the Australian public domain.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.