This is my favorite Christmas story because, until I heard it, I had never thought about the innkeeper. The innkeeper isn't part of most Nativity sets. I haven't heard any carols about the innkeeper. There don't seem to be any paintings that include him, either.
As I grew up and went into ministry I got a bit bothered by the purée of Gospel that is the typical church nativity play. But this week, I went to a Christmas Program and nativity play at my son's parochial school, and I survived.
Our over-familiarity with the nativity story can make us just as blind to the inherent meaning it contains. The result is often nativity scenes that bear little resemblance to the powerful events they attempt to represent.
Our redemption comes from another direction. The first step is to look within, to recognize our own interior "Grinch thoughts" that act as a thief in the night. These self-critical, self-doubting beliefs end up robbing us of our birthright to live freely as we are.
Of all the characters who appear in the Gospel accounts of Jesus' birth, the "Three Wise Men" are by far the most fascinating. Who were these mysterious foreigners? Where did they come from? What was their star? And were there even three of them?