Pete Hiett, founder of the “Hyatt Hotels” and the very first Hyatt hotel—the Hyatt of Bethlehem—shared his testimony and recollection of the very first Christmas.
He explained that some illiterate shepherds misspelled the hotel name on their very first sign, and then, he unveiled the new “Hiett” logo.
To own a hotel had always been his dream.
“It all happened during a very busy time. I wasn’t a monster, just takin’ care of business and working overtime,” explained Hiett. He was CEO, COO, cook, custodian and accountant. He continued, “I opened the door and found these two tramps looking for a room. The young man exclaimed, ‘my wife is pregnant.’ I said, ‘that’s not my fault.’ And he said, ‘it’s not my fault either!’ I told them, ‘There’s no room in the inn, but there’s a stable out back.”
“That’s how it happened,” according to Hiett.
He knew he’d have to forgive them the hotel bill.
Forgive is an accounting term; forgive is like a swear word to a businessman. It means that you stop counting.
When Hiett discovered that the baby born in his stable might actually be the Messiah, he wondered as he wandered out under the stars, if he had room in his heart for anyone… except his infant son, Moisha.
Does God want room? If God wants in, why doesn’t He just kick the door down? The Romans or King Herod would just kick the door down.
One day, the young family—that had stayed in his stable—suddenly left Bethlehem. And that’s when Hiett’s world fell apart. Herod’s men didn’t knock; they just kicked the door down and ran a sword through the heart of Hiett’s infant son, Moisha.
It was then that Hiett shut the door to his heart. He figured that the death of his son was payment for shutting the door on the Messiah, the Son of God. His business grew, but it was no longer his dream; it was his addiction. For thirty years, he allowed nothing bigger than himself into his heart. He was alone—trapped in hell—and the door was locked from the inside.
One day, Jesus of Nazareth (but of “the House of Bread,” Bethlehem) came to Jerusalem. By this time, Hiett had opened the downtown Hiett Jerusalem. Having listened to Jesus in the back of a crowd, disciples of Christ Jesus followed him home and said, “The Teacher asks, ‘where is the room . . . where we are to have the Passover?”
Hiett gave them the room . . .
The next day, he watched as Herod and the Romans nailed Christ to a tree, naked as the day he was born in the stable thirty years before.
He heard Him cry, “Father forgive . . . ”
He realized that the same folks that murdered his son, Moisha, murdered God’s Son, Jesus. He wondered, “Does God feel what I feel? Is God where I am? Could God get small enough to enter Hell—my hell?”
He heard Him cry, “Father forgive them’ and ‘It is finished” like He was taking care of business.
“That’s some crazy business,” noted Hiett.
Then he wondered, “Am I one of ‘them?’ And if I’m forgiven . . . then, my son’s death wasn’t payment for my debt, but perhaps, the Son of God was?”
But then he realized, “Christ the Lord is the Lord . . . so God was paying God, my debt—which was me, that I stole from Him.”
And then he thought, “How could anyone pay God for anything? Doesn’t God pay for all things all the time in every place that’s any place? He’s the Creator.”
Suddenly, all his business sense made no sense.
And all his counting just didn’t count.
He let Christ’s bewildered disciple stay in the upper room of the Hiett Jerusalem. On Pentecost, as they prayed upstairs, he muttered a prayer downstairs, “God I’m sorry. Forgive me . . . If I could do it over, I’d say, ‘There’s room. You can have my room.’”
Suddenly, there was a mighty wind and tongues of fire… When Hiett came to, he said everything empty was now full and all things were new and he had stopped counting, for he knew that everything was . . . free—absolutely free.
And he knew that everything had happened according to plan—even the fact that he couldn’t stop counting; it was all so that he could see God stop counting.
“That’s what counts: that I would see all is forgiven and it is finished, that I would know that God is Love and I would begin to Love as I have always been loved in perfect freedom; it all happened to empty me of “me,” that I could be filled with Him,” said Hiett. “As long as I thought I could create my dreams, I could not dream of my Creator.”
“My dreams were back and all things with them. And I knew the difference between a hotel and the Hiett; I can buy a hotel, but I am the Hiett—built not by human hands, but built by God to house God.”
“I dropped to my knees and said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ I felt God smile and heard Jesus humbly reply, ‘Pete, you’re more than welcome . . . Welcome to the Hiett, the Peter Hiett.”
(Of course, this is a second-hand summary. You need to watch the video and hear the man himself, to get the full picture. Merry Christmas!)