September or early October, though the explanation
of that would take too long to put here, just take
this one verse and do some investigation on when
shepherds would have been out in the fields at
night watching their flocks (Luke 2:8).
* The place where Jesus was born -- probably not a
sheep, and in this cave would have been a carved
out stone for watering them, and this watering
trough was called a manger (Luke 2:7).
Jesus because the local inn was out of rooms --
it was because they were outcasts to their own
families: folks to whom they were related wanted
to have nothing to do with them because Mary was
pregnant and not married and there was no
explanation of her pregnancy that made sense
(Luke 2:4-7 -- literally it says, "FOR THEM
there was no place in the [family] guest room").
* Mary doesn't ride a donkey or a camel -- there
were expensive. Walking was the common mode of
the manger -- they came to the house where Joseph,
Mary, and Jesus were living (Matthew 2:11),
probably several months after Jesus' birth
(Matthew 2:16) and quite likely because there
were still unkind things being said about
* The magi were not three Kings -- they were
astrologers from the East (Matthew 2:1-2
likely Iran), who used a forbidden practice
as king of the Jews (Matthew 2:2). While we
know they brought three gifts -- gold,
many of them there were.
Baby Jesus is wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a stone watering trough for his bed. (For those who first heard these stories and knew the culture, this would sound eerily like the tomb in which he was placed in death!) The Lamb of God is rejected by family and people in power. The Lamb of God is welcomed by those who tended sheep as he slept where baby lambs would have slept. The shepherds in the fields could have been the very same shepherds who watched over the lambs slain at Passover, because that is what many Bethlehem shepherds did.
God with us, Immanuel (Matthew 1:23), was not welcomed into this world by those who knew Mary and Joseph. Jesus, who would save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21), yet he and his family were rejected because everyone suspected he was conceived under "sinful circumstances" in the minds of many people. Shortly after Mary became pregnant, she left her home in Nazareth and went to be with Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea, probably because of her questionable pregnancy while she was engaged to Joseph (Luke 1:39). Even years later, Jesus would still hear the taunt that he was Mary's boy, implying that Joseph wasn't his real father and Mary's supposed sin had somehow tainted him (Mark 6:3).
At the end of Mary's pregnancy came the required trip to Bethlehem.
(c) 2011 Phil Ware <email@example.com>. All rights reserved.