Summary: Was Jesus born in a wooden stable surrounded by wisemen and shepherds? Check out this study for the real facts of the first Christmas and how to help your holiday be more merry.
Luke 2:1-7 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. ESV
Dispelling some myths about the birth of Christ:
Jesus was born the night Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem
Most likely they were there for some time. It just says "while they were there."
The Inn was like Motel 6
(probably a spare room in a house - word not typically used for an Inn) The only other time the Greek word kataluma is used is to describe the upper room in Luke 22:11. Often animals were actually kept on a first floor room of a house to keep them safe and warmer. Sleeping quarters were on the second floor.
Now if it had been a hotel and if these events had occurred today, just imagine Joseph’s difficulties securing a place for the Messiah’s birth:
"Welcome to the Inn at Bethlehem, where every night is a silent night."
"Hi my name is Joseph of Nazareth and I Ã¢ï¿½Â¦"
"Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line and we’ll be with you shortly."
"Hello, my name is Rob, how may I help you?"
"I need a room for the night. You see we just arrived in town and my wife Ã¢ï¿½Â¦"
"Do you have a reservation?"
"Um, no, I don’t. You see we just arrived for the Census and my wife is about to have Ã¢ï¿½Â¦"
"I am very sorry to inform you that due to the Census we have no rooms available."
"Yes, but you see my wife is carrying the Messiah and she is about to Ã¢ï¿½Â¦"
"You say your wife is the Messiah? Please hold for my supervisor."
"Hello, this is Rob, what seems to be the problem?"
"Well, as I was telling the other, um, Rob, we need a room to have a baby."
"I am sorry to inform you that due to the Census all rooms are full. Have you tried the Holiday Inn?"
"Yes, everyone seems to be full. You’re our last hope."
"I’m sorry sir, we are overbooked Ã¢ï¿½Â¦ wait, I do have something, but Ã¢ï¿½Â¦ no, you wouldn’t like it."
"At this point I’ll take anything."
"Well, for some reason I see an availability for a giant wooden crÃƒÂ¨che. This room features straw, a manager and animals."
"That’d be perfect. I’ll take it."
"Fine, sir. How many in your party?"
"Well there’s me, my wife Mary, and by the time the evening is over there’ll be a third, the baby Jesus."
"Your wife is in labor, sir?"
"Well, yes, she is, but we Ã¢ï¿½Â¦"
"Hello, 9-1-1, please state the nature of your emergency Ã¢ï¿½Â¦"
The shepherds and wisemen were all at the stable at the same time (wise guys came when Jesus was a small child)