Sunday, December 15, 2013
Countdown to Christmas - Week 5
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn.
Luke 2:6-7 The Message Bible
Whenever I get to this part of the story, it puzzles me that Mary and Joseph traveled to the city of their ancestors, and no one in the village received them. Bethlehem was a little village; did they really have inns? It was not just off the interstate, and there was no Motel 6 to cater to the camel drivers. The word inn would be better translated inner room.
Joseph and Mary possibly found some relatives who would have given them lodging, but they already had house guests sleeping in their inner room or guest room. The only space left for company was the stable, which wasn’t a cave out back as usually depicted. Homes at the time often had an area for the animals in the same building. It made more sense that way; the animals would be kept safe, and they would throw off body heat to warm the house in the cold of night.
Yes, Jesus was probably placed in the manger – what a perfect crib that would make, don’t you think? But I picture that Mary was surrounded by female relatives along with the cattle and donkeys.
Why do we always see Mary and Joseph in this cave by themselves with the baby Jesus and the farm animals? Because Jesus was born in the most humble of places as foretold in Scripture. From these humble beginnings, He became King. At that time, you had to be born in a palace to ever become a king. So whether He was born in a cave or in the stable within the home of a common, working class family, He would never be able to rise to a position of ruling a kingdom. Of course, they did not realize at the time what it really meant to rule the kingdom – to rule the world.
If you have children, they were most likely born in a clean, bright hospital. Can you imagine giving birth any place else? Your bathroom floor? The back seat of a car? A barn? The women of the Bible never gave birth in a sterile environment. There were no such places back then. Why do you suppose God chose a stable for the birthplace of His Son when He could have chosen any other place?
(Every Sunday from now until Christmas, I will be sharing an excerpt from “The Christmas Story in 40 Days”. A friend of mine gave me a rubber duckie Nativity set to add to my rubber duckie collection. I went a little crazy taking pictures of these ducks, but hopefully, if you find my words boring, at least the pictures over the next six weeks will keep you coming back for more. And if you don’t find my words boring, don’t forget to get your copy of “The Christmas Story in 40 Days”. If you order today, you will still get it in time for Christmas.)