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Christmas Day

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

Luke 2: 6-7 (TLB)

Every one must make up his own mind as to how much he should give. Don't force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes. 2 Corinthians 9: 7 (TLB)

Ken Claar, from Idaho, sometimes feels sorry for the poor Bethlehem innkeeper in all our modern Christmas stories and plays. He is usually depicted as a mean man who somehow should have been able to manufacture a room for Joseph and the pregnant Mary. Instead, he sent then out into the cruel dark night. But the innkeeper had no space. He may have already had people sleeping in the halls and on the kitchen floor because of the huge crowds that had come for the census.

So, perhaps we can see the innkeeper in a different light. He offered what he had. He could have just told them to go away, but he figured out what he had left that might help and let them use his barn. I'm sure Mary and Joseph were very glad to get out of the elements and to have a sheltered birthing place.

When a ministry needs a large amount of money for a mission, or a friend needs many hands to help, we can't give them everything they need or do all the work by ourselves. But we can pray, and, as the innkeeper did, give what we have. When we give our best in God's name, it is good for us to remember what God gave - his Son.

Prayer: Loving God, you have given us our talents and our lives; help us to use them for your purposes today, in Jesus' name. Amen

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