Why was there 'No Room in the Inn?"


#1

Why was their no Room at the Inn?

At the risk of demeaning my self; I confess to every year around Christmas time, pondering why there was “no Room at the Inn” for a pregnant women, and her husband in the city of David? Both true children of Israel.

Luke 2:6-11”And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger”

It seems to me only two possibilities could exist. Either the Inn-Keeper had in fact “sold out” all his available rooms; or he had succumbed to the greed so common in our self serving, very human nature; and was holding out for more wealthy prospects for tenants?

This brings to mind the two choices man faces when confronted with “truth.” “Submission or denial are the only options open to us. Making alternations, obstinacy, or even having received improper or inadequate instructions are simply various forms of denial, because “truth” must be a singular reality.

This season ought to be for all Christians one if introspection. Relating this need to the situation of Mary and Joseph, we might ask ourselves: As I myself am the “Inn” that the Christ child seeks “room in.“ Do I have room? Do I make ROOM for Christ in “My personal “In” ? Is my mind, heart, soul open for Christ as MY invited and special Guest? Have I given Jesus the Christmas present that He seeks? Have I returned “my will” in favor of His Divine will? … Both Christ and me can’t be in charge; so am I able; am I willing to allow Christ to take charge of my life?

Is there room in “My In” for Christ?; or might I, like the infamous Inn Keeper be holding out for a more lucrative self-serving tenant?

Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

Continued Blessings,

Pat /PJM


#2

Actually, the inkeeper may have been doing them a kindness. Inns in those days weren’t composed of individual rooms. Everyone slept in the same large room so there was no privacy. Also, since every man of the House of David had to be in such a tiny town–no doubt required to bring family with him (why else would Joseph have subjected Mary to such a trip when she was so near her due date?)–the inn would have been overflowing with people.

The stable to which Mary and Joseph were directed was special, as our senior pastor related to us in his Christmas homily. Father told us the stable was one in which the sheep, used for the sacrifices in the Temple (only 7 miles away) gave birth to their lambs, so it was kept ritually clean. It would have been private, clean and the perfect place for giving birth to the Lamb of God.

The shepherds on the hill to whom the angels appeared to announce Jesus’ birth were those who kept watch over the sacrificial sheep, so they not only knew which stable the Angel of the Lord referred to, they were of the Levitical sect that would have known about the prophecies concerning the Messiah, his birthplace (Bethlehem), and had all the more reason to “go in haste” to see the newborn Christ Child. So, it was God’s plan in everything, not the lack of charity by an inkeeper, that the Gospel story is telling us. :slight_smile:


#3

I thought it was because of the census...


#4

Being born in midst of animals in a meek stable can be seen as providential place for the Lamb of God to be born who would "be led as a sheep to the slaughter" (Is. 53:7) in propitiation for our sins. The poor surroundings fit the King of Kings as therefore nobody can make an excuse of Him having born in high natural stature or circumstances to explain away the success of His mission. St. Bede notes that He found no room in an inn so that He might prepare many mansions for us in the house of His Father (Jn. 14:2).


#5

[quote="PJM, post:1, topic:309440"]
Why was their no Room at the Inn?

At the risk of demeaning my self; I confess to every year around Christmas time, pondering why there was “no Room at the Inn” for a pregnant women, and her husband in the city of David? Both true children of Israel.

Luke 2:6-11”And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger”

It seems to me only two possibilities could exist. Either the Inn-Keeper had in fact “sold out” all his available rooms; or he had succumbed to the greed so common in our self serving, very human nature; and was holding out for more wealthy prospects for tenants?

This brings to mind the two choices man faces when confronted with “truth.” “Submission or denial are the only options open to us. Making alternations, obstinacy, or even having received improper or inadequate instructions are simply various forms of denial, because “truth” must be a singular reality.

This season ought to be for all Christians one if introspection. Relating this need to the situation of Mary and Joseph, we might ask ourselves: As I myself am the “Inn” that the Christ child seeks “room in.“ Do I have room? Do I make ROOM for Christ in “My personal “In” ? Is my mind, heart, soul open for Christ as MY invited and special Guest? Have I given Jesus the Christmas present that He seeks? Have I returned “my will” in favor of His Divine will? … Both Christ and me can’t be in charge; so am I able; am I willing to allow Christ to take charge of my life?

Is there room in “My In” for Christ?; or might I, like the infamous Inn Keeper be holding out for a more lucrative self-serving tenant?

Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

Continued Blessings,

Pat /PJM

[/quote]

Is not from a Catholic source but it does provide some infomation

thinkinginchrist.com/2011/12/15/no-room-at-the-inn

I wanted to point this out because not only is it interesting, it’s also important.

*In the typical Christmas pageant, one of the children will be cast as the heartless innkeeper who refuses lodging to Joseph and pregnant Mary. Most know that there is no innkeeper mentioned in the Bible, but fewer are aware that there is not even an inn described. The view that Joseph and Mary simply arrived late to Bethlehem and accommodations at the local hotel were full is incorrect. The word translated as “inn” is the word kataluma, which is used elsewhere by Luke and translated as “guest chamber” or “upper room” (Luke 22:11; cf. Mark 14:14). When Luke wants to speak of a paid establishment (i.e., an inn), he uses a different Greek word, pandocheion, as in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:34). Unfortunately, of the dozens of English translations that I’ve checked, all translate kataluma as “inn” in Luke 2:7 and not as “guest room” (that includes the recent ESV and NET; apparently they are unwilling to buck tradition in favor of accuracy).

The result of this mistranslation leads to a different understanding of the story. It’s not that Joseph and Mary were late to town, but it’s that they were rejected by their family. Clearly they had family members in town, as that was the reason they returned to Bethlehem for the census. That there was no room in the guest chamber for a pregnant woman indicates that they chose not to make room for this unwedded mother. The birth of Jesus in a room where animals lived suggests shame and rejection.

-Bible Places*

The guest room in a person’s house was generally the “upper room,” a room that was built onto a portion of the flat roof. This is where you would put guests so they would not disturb the operations of the house, and so they could sit on the unenclosed portion of the roof to get some fresh air –since that’s where the family often spent time as well, it set up a perfect time to socialize.

Joseph and Mary probably didn’t just go to Bethlehem to get counted for the census, but probably also to escape the prying eyes of disapproval from their family and friends back in their parent’s home town. The reception they received from their relatives in Nazareth wasn’t the best, either, but it was “good enough.” A place of shame, rather than honor, but a place nonetheless.

To accept Joseph and Mary into their homes, to give them the guest room, would have meant to approve of Mary’s condition, pregnant before wedlock. This simply couldn’t be done in that culture without trusting in the words of the Angels preceding the situation arising.

In the end, then, this is as much a story about faith as it is about shame. Mary’s condition was only shameful to those who wouldn’t believe. Jesus was an offense to the world before he was born, and remains an offense to the world to this day.


#6

[quote="PJM, post:1, topic:309440"]
Why was their no Room at the Inn?

At the risk of demeaning my self; I confess to every year around Christmas time, pondering why there was “no Room at the Inn” for a pregnant women, and her husband in the city of David? Both true children of Israel.

Luke 2:6-11”And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger”

It seems to me only two possibilities could exist. Either the Inn-Keeper had in fact “sold out” all his available rooms; or he had succumbed to the greed so common in our self serving, very human nature; and was holding out for more wealthy prospects for tenants?

This brings to mind the two choices man faces when confronted with “truth.” “Submission or denial are the only options open to us. Making alternations, obstinacy, or even having received improper or inadequate instructions are simply various forms of denial, because “truth” must be a singular reality.

This season ought to be for all Christians one if introspection. Relating this need to the situation of Mary and Joseph, we might ask ourselves: As I myself am the “Inn” that the Christ child seeks “room in.“ Do I have room? Do I make ROOM for Christ in “My personal “In” ? Is my mind, heart, soul open for Christ as MY invited and special Guest? Have I given Jesus the Christmas present that He seeks? Have I returned “my will” in favor of His Divine will? … Both Christ and me can’t be in charge; so am I able; am I willing to allow Christ to take charge of my life?

Is there room in “My In” for Christ?; or might I, like the infamous Inn Keeper be holding out for a more lucrative self-serving tenant?

Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

Continued Blessings,

Pat /PJM

[/quote]

Is not from a Catholic source but it does provide info

thinkinginchrist.com/2011/12/15/no-room-at-the-inn

I wanted to point this out because not only is it interesting, it’s also important.

*In the typical Christmas pageant, one of the children will be cast as the heartless innkeeper who refuses lodging to Joseph and pregnant Mary. Most know that there is no innkeeper mentioned in the Bible, but fewer are aware that there is not even an inn described. The view that Joseph and Mary simply arrived late to Bethlehem and accommodations at the local hotel were full is incorrect. The word translated as “inn” is the word kataluma, which is used elsewhere by Luke and translated as “guest chamber” or “upper room” (Luke 22:11; cf. Mark 14:14). When Luke wants to speak of a paid establishment (i.e., an inn), he uses a different Greek word, pandocheion, as in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:34). Unfortunately, of the dozens of English translations that I’ve checked, all translate kataluma as “inn” in Luke 2:7 and not as “guest room” (that includes the recent ESV and NET; apparently they are unwilling to buck tradition in favor of accuracy).

The result of this mistranslation leads to a different understanding of the story. It’s not that Joseph and Mary were late to town, but it’s that they were rejected by their family. Clearly they had family members in town, as that was the reason they returned to Bethlehem for the census. That there was no room in the guest chamber for a pregnant woman indicates that they chose not to make room for this unwedded mother. The birth of Jesus in a room where animals lived suggests shame and rejection.

-Bible Places*

The guest room in a person’s house was generally the “upper room,” a room that was built onto a portion of the flat roof. This is where you would put guests so they would not disturb the operations of the house, and so they could sit on the unenclosed portion of the roof to get some fresh air –since that’s where the family often spent time as well, it set up a perfect time to socialize.

Joseph and Mary probably didn’t just go to Bethlehem to get counted for the census, but probably also to escape the prying eyes of disapproval from their family and friends back in their parent’s home town. The reception they received from their relatives in Nazareth wasn’t the best, either, but it was “good enough.” A place of shame, rather than honor, but a place nonetheless.

To accept Joseph and Mary into their homes, to give them the guest room, would have meant to approve of Mary’s condition, pregnant before wedlock. This simply couldn’t be done in that culture without trusting in the words of the Angels preceding the situation arising.

In the end, then, this is as much a story about faith as it is about shame. Mary’s condition was only shameful to those who wouldn’t believe. Jesus was an offense to the world before he was born, and remains an offense to the world to this day.

Why did people in Bethlehem who did not allow Jospeh and Mary and unborn Jesus to stay, think that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock? Why didn't they know that God created the miracle of a Virgin birth? Did the Bethlehem not think Jospeh and Mary had not conceived the child?


#7

It is a foreshadowing of Jesus' rejection by His own people.


#8

Bethlehem was a very minor place then. It is a minor place now; despite 100 generations of urban expansion that have brought it side-by-side with Jerusalem.

No reputation surrounding our LORD would have built up in Bethlehem. Births are not public events.

Della: Have you a source for the Nativity site once being a raising place for Jerusalem sacrificial lambs?? I am not doubting you, but if this is really true, it is awesome!!!!!!!

ICXC NIKA


#9

Joseph, Jesus and Mary are rich in poverty His Father probably knew he did not need an inn.

Merry Christmas
God bless


#10

I always thought it was so busy because people were in town for Christmas....oh wait.....;)


#11

=Della;10173249]Actually, the inkeeper may have been doing them a kindness. Inns in those days weren't composed of individual rooms. Everyone slept in the same large room so there was no privacy. Also, since every man of the House of David had to be in such a tiny town--no doubt required to bring family with him (why else would Joseph have subjected Mary to such a trip when she was so near her due date?)--the inn would have been overflowing with people.

The stable to which Mary and Joseph were directed was special, as our senior pastor related to us in his Christmas homily. Father told us the stable was one in which the sheep, used for the sacrifices in the Temple (only 7 miles away) gave birth to their lambs, so it was kept ritually clean. It would have been private, clean and the perfect place for giving birth to the Lamb of God.

The shepherds on the hill to whom the angels appeared to announce Jesus' birth were those who kept watch over the sacrificial sheep, so they not only knew which stable the Angel of the Lord referred to, they were of the Levitical sect that would have known about the prophecies concerning the Messiah, his birthplace (Bethlehem), and had all the more reason to "go in haste" to see the newborn Christ Child. So, it was God's plan in everything, not the lack of charity by an inkeeper, that the Gospel story is telling us. :)

Thank you Della:)

You [and your Pastor] shared a few things I never heard of before. What he shared makes sense and indicated further God's Divine Providence.:thumbsup:


#12

=Glacies;10173518]Being born in midst of animals in a meek stable can be seen as providential place for the Lamb of God to be born who would “be led as a sheep to the slaughter” (Is. 53:7) in propitiation for our sins. The poor surroundings fit the King of Kings as therefore nobody can make an excuse of Him having born in high natural stature or circumstances to explain away the success of His mission. St. Bede notes that He found no room in an inn so that He might prepare many mansions for us in the house of His Father (Jn. 14:2).

GREAT insite!

Thank you!

Pat


#13

Just my take. Why was there no room in the "inn"? Probably because there may not have been one in the first place. ;)


#14

I know I won't make it past the 20 minute limit for editing a post, so:

Abyssinia has already mentioned it, but it is likely that the word translated as 'inn' here, katalyma (lit. 'a place to loosen down, to lodge') may not refer to a commercial inn at all.

1.) Within the same gospel, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, when Luke does refer to an inn he employs a different term, pandocheion. Katalyma, by contrast, has a broader meaning: it generally means a place where people can rest, especially during a journey, inn or no (so in the Septuagint). Within the gospel it happens to be used to denote the 'upper room' (cf. Mark 14:14; Luke 22:22). There are two other places where some form of it appears as well: in 9:12, where the disciples ask Jesus to "Send away the multitude, that going into the towns and villages round about, they may lodge" (katalysosin), and in 19:7, where the crowd complains: "He has gone in to be the guest (katalysai) of a man who is a sinner." We can see from these examples that the word does not have so narrow a meaning, and Luke does not necessarily employ it as such.

2.) Translating katalyma at this point as specifically 'inn' is a fairly recent phenomenon. AFAIK the ancient versions do not render it as such; for example the Syriac Peshitta's "because there was no room where they could lodge" and the Latin diversorio, which like katalyma has a wider range of meaning than simply 'inn'.

3.) Middle-Eastern customs of hospitality, where guests being welcomed in the home is a high virtue, would have rendered a stay at a commercial lodging unnecessary. In Joseph's case especially, since he was of the lineage of David he may have had a number of relatives in Bethlehem (David's town) whom he could potentially rely on for lodgings. All that Luke says is that Mary placed the infant in the phatne ('feeding-trough') "because there was no room for them in the katalyma;" in other words, there was no available space within the 'lodgings' of the house where guests would have stayed (childbirth was a very big event after all, especially in villages where people knew each other; I assume that village women were there to assist in the delivery) so they had to make do with another part of the house, where the animals were kept. And yes, people in those days did generally keep their livestock in an area inside their house, to protect them from theft and the elements and to help provide warmth.


#15

[quote="GEddie, post:8, topic:309440"]
Bethlehem was a very minor place then. It is a minor place now; despite 100 generations of urban expansion that have brought it side-by-side with Jerusalem.

No reputation surrounding our LORD would have built up in Bethlehem. Births are not public events.

Della: Have you a source for the Nativity site once being a raising place for Jerusalem sacrificial lambs?? I am not doubting you, but if this is really true, it is awesome!!!!!!!

ICXC NIKA

[/quote]

I'll have to ask our pastor, when I get the chance. Maybe there's something online about it. I'll check because I'd like to know the source, as well. It sure does give a whole new dimension to Christ's sacrificial life, if true. :)


#16

I found a reference online about the sacrificial sheep and the shepherds: bible-truth.org/BirthPlaceofJesus.html. It's Protestant but seemed well researched. I'd like to see some further evidence from non-Evangelical source. No offence to our Evangelical brethren, but sometimes they can get carried away when looking for signs and symbols. Catholics can, as well, of course, but I'd like to see something from a historian or archeologist that would confirm it. Sadly, many historians and archeologists have no interest in connecting theological dots. Still, it would make sense of some of the things in the Gospel account that don't make sense to us who are so far removed from the times. For instance, how would the shepherds know in just whose manger the Child was to be found if it had been a privately owned stable/cave? It makes more sense if they were the shepherds who kept the sacrificial sheep--then they'd know just where to go and perhaps why Christ was born there, as well. :)


#17

Thanks for the site info


#18

[quote="PJM, post:17, topic:309440"]
Thanks for the site info

[/quote]

:tiphat:


#19

[quote="Della, post:2, topic:309440"]
The stable to which Mary and Joseph were directed was special, as our senior pastor related to us in his Christmas homily. Father told us the stable was one in which the sheep, used for the sacrifices in the Temple (only 7 miles away) gave birth to their lambs, so it was kept ritually clean. It would have been private, clean and the perfect place for giving birth to the Lamb of God.

[/quote]

Privacy is also expressed in the Transfiguration. This was not an event to be beheld by everyone. Why not do it on a pyramid surrounded by thousands to see? Why be modest?


#20

I've heard of several versions of what the place Jesus was born in was like.

But the one I think fits best is the one that said that the inn had a number of rooms but were taken before Joseph arrived. But the stable, or cave, which housed animals under the house, was offered to them. Like a garage in our day which is below the house.

St. Jerome, while working on the bible, was housed in a cave as the original place of birth in Bethlehem.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.