I created the concept and wrote the narrative and dialog for the following original musical. Children, teenagers, and adult members of Saint Matthias Episcopal Church presented “The Innkeeper’s Witness,” in the church sanctuary at 7:00 PM on Friday, December 29, 2000 and Saturday, December 30, 2000. This forty-minute presentation recalled the key elements surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ as well as a new look at how the Innkeeper might have met the adult Jesus thirty years later. Since that time, my son, Adam Thomas, now a priest at age 33, has rewritten the music. Adam wrote most of the original music when a senior in high school. Two songs, now replaced, were contributed by members of St. Matthias.
The Innkeeper’s Witness begins with an old man saying these words: “I suppose you think you know the story of the coming of Christ. Well, perhaps you know the parts that include Mary and Joseph, the Angel Gabriel, other angels, the Star that hung over Bethlehem, shepherds, wise men known as magi, animals in a stable behind the inn. One story handed down from generation to generation remembers only that Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room in the inn. But I know better for there is more to this story than you may realize.”
When the elements of a traditional Christmas Pageant end, the old man reveals himself to be the young Innkeeper and tells how he met Jesus again at the Wedding in Cana of Galilee, The Feeding of the 5000, and how he, along with Cleopas, unknowingly meet Jesus again as they walked away from the Crucifixion in Jerusalem to Emmaus. The Innkeeper’s Witness closes with these words:
What would my life have been like had I not answered the call to open my door that night in Bethlehem? What would my life have been like had I not set my heart on Jesus? What would my life have been like had he not come and revealed himself in the breaking of the bread. These are the questions I always ask myself at this time of year. I try to avoid falling into the trap of simply remembering how adorable Jesus was as a baby and forgetting that he died for me and continues to offer me new life everyday.
Please accept this as my witness: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. I do not fear his coming again. I only fear that I will be as unprepared for his coming again as I was for his first coming. When there is a knock at your door, do not be afraid, but be willing to serve, for by accepting the opportunity to share God’s love you will enter into the joy of our master, Our Lord Jesus Christ.