by John Schoenheit
The Christmas story about the birth of our Savior is deeply embedded in people’s minds, and supported by years of teachings, songs, pictures, “living manger scenes,” and so forth. Tradition teaches us that Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem the night she gave birth, only to find that the local inn was full and no one in the village had room for them. So they found a place of shelter in a local stable and Mary gave birth alone and unsupported, except by her husband and some barn animals.
In this teaching, John Schoenheit gives a much more accurate account of the birth of Christ, one supported both by Scripture and biblical custom. Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem a number of days before the birth of Jesus, and were taken into the home of a local family whose guestroom was full. The family brought the couple into their own living quarters, and Mary gave birth in the house of a loving family, with support from the women of the family and likely even the village midwife, just as any woman in that culture would have done. Understanding the Christmas story this way is not only biblically accurate, but shows a lot more of the “Christmas spirit” than does a village that would not open their homes or their hearts to a couple in need.
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