Hannah, The Innkeeper
Christmas Day 2011
Introduction: Have you ever wondered how Luke gathered material for his gospel? What if Luke did research to prepare his story of the birth of Jesus? Do you think Luke interviewed people with first-hand experience? Perhaps, Luke conducted an interview with the innkeeper who took in Mary and Joseph so many years before.
Luke: I am thinking of gathering as many stories as possible about Jesus and writing them down. I have been fortunate to talk with Jesus’ mother, Mary, and she suggested that I talk with you to learn about Jesus’ birth. Can you tell me about yourself?
Hannah: I have a small house in Bethlehem. There is a stable at back. My husband and I ran the Inn until his death.
Luke: I understand that Jesus was born following the decree from Caesar Augustus that everyone should be registered. So, Joseph went back to his ancestral hometown, Bethlehem. What do you remember about those days?
Hannah: It was a very busy time with lots of people coming and going. Many people needed a place to stay. I was swamped, and what I thought would be a fun adventure became a lot of work.
Luke: What do you remember about Mary and Joseph? What did you think about them?
Hannah: I saw Mary and Joseph, and I was sorry to tell them that I had no room. They had travelled eighty miles, which is a long way. I felt great sympathy for them, but I had no room. I knew they really needed a place to be.
Luke: What did you do? Ask other people to leave?
Hannah: I thought of the stable as the only place I had. I knew this wasn’t ideal, but it was the best I could offer. They agreed. Joseph helped Mary get to the cave. They thanked me, though I was embarrassed to receive thanks for what I offered. Because I was so busy, I left them for the afternoon. I had guests to attend to and food to prepare. When I returned to bring them some food, the baby had been born. They put him in the manger. I thought, “How clever!”
Luke: As I was talking with Mary for information on the story I am gathering, she said, “Be sure to ask Hannah about the shepherds.” Will you tell me about shepherds?
Hannah: I heard a commotion from the stable, and I saw shepherds. They started telling me a story that was hard to believe. And, to be honest, I was very skeptical.
Luke: I know that shepherds have a rough reputation. What did they tell you?
Hannah: The talked about angels visiting them, announcing that the Messiah had been born, singing to them, and offering great praise.
Luke: Did you believe the shepherds?
Hannah: As I said, it was hard to believe. But after the shepherds told me about their visit from the angels, Mary and Joseph told me about their own experience with angels. So, the stories were confirmed. I believed that Jesus was the Messiah sent from God. And, I still believe that.
Luke: Thank you for these wonderful details. I do think I will write them down.
Hannah: “Yes, you have to write this story. So the whole world will know!”