8. What a crowd!


…While they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn [guest room].

Bethlehem is crowded when Mary and Joseph arrive in town. Lots of people are pouring into town and families are squeezing people into every single room. It’s noisy, as people greet each other, excited to see one another. Food is cooked and feasts are held. People are yelling too, as someone claims a room that belongs to someone else. Joseph helps Mary as they walk along the busy street where Joseph’s family live. It’s a full house. 
But there is the place where the animals live of course... 

This picture comes from a book called 'Daily Life at the time of Jesus'.

Let's talk about the Inn for a moment:
Lots of Christmas books you might have read will tell you that Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room in the inn. An inn is another word for a motel. This is most likely not true. 
1. Firstly, in Jesus’ time it would have been a great insult for Joseph and Mary not to have stayed with family when they arrived in Bethlehem. They would not have gone first to a motel to find a room. They would have gone straight to Joseph's family.
2. There were probably not any motels in Bethlehem. There was no major road going through Bethlehem, so it was not like lots of travellers passed through needing a place to stay. They didn’t need a motel.
3. The other thing to remember is that the Bible has been translated. The book of Luke was originally written in another language, called Greek. In Greek, the word ‘inn’ should have been translated as ‘guest room’. So, when Joseph arrived at his family’s house, all the guest rooms were full!

You can find out more at: www.biblearchaeology.org 
For a pretty detailed investigation see: 'Jesus wasn't born in a stable.'
 

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