I was very tired that night and sick of the travelers and lodgers and pilgrims crowding the inn. I was ready to leave it all and go far away. Roman soldiers had come by earlier that day and everyone was still ill at ease. I worked frantically to accommodate the overflowing guests and to keep the peace. Trouble was something I did not need, so I did what I had to do because you know business is business.
Somewhere in the midst of the evening of noise and crowds stood a weary man in my door. The census had thrown everything into disarray and this poor fellow had arrived with his very pregnant wife, looking for a place to rest. I was already beyond capacity and he had no real money to speak of. Seeing that his wife was in distress, I offered accommodations in the animal shed out back. I waved off the man’s meager attempt at payment and told him to just clean up the animal dung. I went back to the raucous crowd already overflowing the rooms and hallways. It was cold that night and I worried about the woman, but you know business is business.
Later that night, as things began to settle, I finally made it back to my quarters. The stars outside seemed unusually bright and I thought there would be trouble when some shepherds came running through the alley toward the animal shed. I intended to run them off but I was too tired, and I assumed the man accompanying the pregnant woman would do so. As it was, the shepherds went in only briefly and left a few moments later. That’s when I heard the baby cry. The woman had given birth out in the cold. Perhaps I should have given her a place inside, but it would have upset the other guests. Besides, you know business is business.
In the morning, the man and the woman were gone, along with their child. Not a trace of their passing remained and the animal shed was clean. It’s a good thing they were gone because that day Herod’s soldiers came through town murdering all of the young male children. I did not need a murdered child on my property upsetting my paying customers. I was a little perturbed that Herod would even do such a thing, but I understood his motives because you know business is business.