Tired already, but still needing to serve some clients, he heard a desperate knock on his door.
He immediately knew what it was, another traveler looking for a place to stay for the night. Ever since the Emperor, Augustus had decreed the census, there had been very many people in the area and almost everyone needed a room. Business was good but it was also very exhausting. He could not count the number of times he had to tell customers “No room!” in the past few days.
It went again and this time he shouted;
Oh gosh. He knew he’d been praying all year for God to bless his business but quite literally now his cup was running over. He had actually no room to accommodate any clients now.
This was getting to him, so he had no option but to literally face whoever it was and send them away. As he approached the door, lamp in hand, the angry sound came again;
And this really got to him, anger rose up and as he opened the door shouted;
“Are you going to sleep in the stable? BECAUSE I HAVE NO ROOM LEFT!!!”
As soon as he saw the man and the woman with him, he thought to himself; Perhaps I need to make room in the stable. The man in front of him reminded him of his own son. He had become a father too at around this age- they grow up so fast!
“Sir, we’ve tried every other Inn and we were really hoping there would be some room, anything, anywhere my wife can lie down because the baby is soon coming! Dear Sir, if you have any room, please help.”
He could not just tell them to try elsewhere, they had been trying elsewhere probably all evening, especially seeing how worn out they both looked.
“Mark? Take a vessel and some towels to number 14 and 3. Ask Chloe to make sure she takes food to 4 and 8. Okay?”
He came out, lamp in his hand, closed the door behind him.
“Come, my inn is full, but there is a stable behind. There’s a little space I was preparing for some two donkeys I was going to buy but I imagine it will be of help. There’s a manger for feeding the animals. Let me clean it for you. I hope it will be of some use.”
He led them to a stable with some animals in it, a cow, some chickens, and two goats. As they got in, the animals made no noise, the cow chewed cud as he observed the three people come in, as if wondering what was happening.
“There are some vessels I can bring you and a little warm water.”
He cleared out some hay and formed a bed, helped Joseph lay out some mats and create a makeshift bed for the soon to be mother.
“I am so sorry, I do not have any space left, but I do hope this will help.”
Now, he wondered to himself: Why am I being so nice? He did not answer himself; he continued to clean one of the mangers.
The man who’d finally been helped, in a relieved yet tired voice told the Inn Keeper,
“Thank you Sir, may God bless you.”
“Don’t worry Sir; just making sure your wife is fine. Let me go get you the vessels and warm water. “
There’s something strange about these people, I cannot put a finger to it, he said to himself as he went inside the inn. He called Chloe, one of the maidens he employed to prepare some towels for him and a little warm water.
She wondered what for, since there were no more people inside the inn who needed them. Is he getting old? However, she simply did as told. As soon as she gave them to him, he went out quickly and delivered them to the couple.
After that, he decided to leave, but he would keep an eye on them. So he went to his room, there was a small window overlooking the stable, from here he could see what was happening.
Phinehas, perhaps, you will look after she’s delivered.