2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place in the guest room.
Although the Scripture does not mention specific individuals other than the shepherds who came to the stable to see the Newborn Babe, we know from Luke’s Gospel that the shepherds told everyone they met about the wonderful event. It is easy to assume that these people, too, came to see the Baby Jesus for themselves. Consequently, throughout history, ordinary townspeople have been included as part of the Nativity scene.
The figures portrayed in your Townspeople of Bethlehem represent those who came to bow before the Infant King. And each sculpture conveys a symbolism of its own.
First, there is The Innkeeper, who surely witnessed the miracle that took place in his stable. Although his inn was filled with travelers, he had compassion on the tired young woman about give birth to her first child and provided shelter for her in his stable. The Inn keeper was undoubtedly prosperous and his richly ornamented cloak attests to his status.
God of our days and nights, help us to be sensitive to those who grow weary during this season. Remind us to share what we have at our disposal, so that all may be treated with the hospitality we would offer to our Lord. Grant us the gift of care and compassion. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.