Dear Innkeeper's Wife:
We know so little about you. Indeed, we do not know if you existed: Neither the St. Luke nor St. Matthew Gospels mention you nor your husband specifically. (The "Christmas Story" is as much influenced by a humourous cartoon moment of modern popular media as it is by the chronicles of the ages.)
For example, what was your name? I like to think your name was "Charity", for Christian charity started with you. You offered all that you could, and as humble as the manger was, it meant the world to a young family and the future to the world. Perhaps you were only being kind. Perhaps you had faith in the holiness of the child no one yet knew. If so, you remind us that, in the humble beginning, all children are holy, and that true acts of faith and charity are as unknown to others as sanctity is unseen.
It may very well be that the kindness you showed was the foundation of the Golden Rule. I sometimes wonder if you ever knew the personal influence you had by the example you gave at the start of a young life. There are those who may sometimes feel overwhelmed (from how shopping becomes another version of the Roman census, through to when work and responsibilities and other annoyances intensify), so much so that they might proclaim "...this whole world is simply a pain!!" But in the moment of greater need by someone else, you were not overwhelmed, aiding in the wellbeing of another.
It was saddening this year to read a Middle East resident's observation that "We're not really that into the peace process.... I don't believe in this era we'll achieve peace with our neighbours. So now we concentrate on what we can do, how we can improve our lives." Although probably not meant to be selfish, the observation is contrary to the example you gave. Your calm, quiet offering showed that, even by one person, peace can be borne in the middle of chaos.
It may have been a small, anonymous gesture... but your act... your act of kindness, your act of charity, your act of faith... your act changed the world. You brought comfort to another's day, you supported hope in all of our lives, and you gave thoughtfulness priority over indifference. You proved that any smile -- of relief, of joy, of Love -- stands for centuries, and is worthy of remembrance and active nurturing, forever.
Vernon R.J. Schmid
Your comments, suggestions, questions, or concerns would be very much appreciated. Please direct them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.