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Born in a stable? No.


Black Aliss
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Laid in a manger, yeah, that probably happened. But the KJV, so beloved by our fundies, is riddled with translation errors, and according to this article, one of the more egregious might be the mis-translation of  kataluma as inn, when it actually referred to a room built on the rooftop of a family home, the guest room, if you will. The writer (A professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, so hardly an apostate) goes on to assert that it would have been unthinkable for Joseph to return to the place of his birth and not be offered accommodation in his family home. But if the guest room was already full or if it was so small that there was no room to give birth, Mary would have given birth in the larger room downstairs, that at night was shared with the livestock and where there were hollows filled with straw in the dirt floor for feeding the animals. This interpretation has been around since at least the mid-19th century but it's never been accepted, certainly not by our favorite KJV fundies.

So what difference does it make whether Jesus came into the world in an outbuilding alone except for Mary, Joseph, and the animals, or in the main part of a family home, surrounded by not just animals, but extended family members?  According to some theologians,

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The problem with the stable is that it distances Jesus from the rest of us. It puts even his birth in a unique setting, in some ways as remote from life as if he had been born in Caesar’s Palace.

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In th[is] Christmas story, Jesus is not sad and lonely, some distance away in the stable, needing our sympathy. He is in the midst of the family, and all the visiting relations, right in the thick of it and demanding our attention. "

 

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[T]o advocate this understanding is to pull the rug from under not only many familiar carols (‘a lowly cattle shed’; ‘a draughty stable with an open door’) but also a favourite theme of Christmas preachers: the ostracism of the Son of God from human society, Jesus the refugee. This is subversive stuff. 

Placing the nativity in its correct setting would certainly make for a livelier creche. Picture a house filled with people and (perhaps animals, depending on time of day), the women who weren't assisting with the birth busy cooking for the extended family, men in one corner of the house trying to ignore the labor and delivery, perhaps discussing the upcoming census and tax policies.

full text of the article here: 

https://www.psephizo.com/biblical-studies/once-more-jesus-was-not-born-in-a-stable/?fbclid=IwAR0cmecmo8EFrfDvm_RLLZjzl1qx0vr-CEC5QaXY3dBrjUvB8witwopPYt4

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Not to mention the fact that wood was a precious commodity and much of the animal housing was in caves...hence the traditional location for veneration being a cave (with the Church of the Nativity built over it).

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I have always heard that it was probably a cave or cavern, because they were used as stables.  The manger/wood/feeding trough is probably a translation error, due to human error.

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1 hour ago, Briefly said:

I have always heard that it was probably a cave or cavern, because they were used as stables.  The manger/wood/feeding trough is probably a translation error, due to human error.

Except that people didn't have stables. Either they lived in caves or rough dwellings; either way hey kept their animals  with them at night, probably for warmth. And the mangers were depressions in the dirt floor that they filled with their fodder. But if there was a kataluma, it would have, by definition, been on top of a house. I doubt anyone of the house and lineage of David had to live in a cave.

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I have heard this before. One thing I rarely hear mentioned is that both Mary and Joseph were supposedly from the line of David, so the trip to Bethlehem would have involved both families, as well as any other relatives. It was likely not a lonely trip for the two of them. Mary's own mother could have possibly attended her at the birth. 

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On December 4, 2018 at 10:09 AM, Black Aliss said:

Placing the nativity in its correct setting would certainly make for a livelier creche. Picture a house filled with people and (perhaps animals, depending on time of day), the women who weren't assisting with the birth busy cooking for the extended family, men in one corner of the house trying to ignore the labor and delivery, perhaps discussing the upcoming census and tax policies.

That would be amazing. Adding making a proper nativity scene to the long list of projects I'll probably never get around to!

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That sounds like a much better story, anyway. I mean, giving birth alone in a stable except for your probably clueless and frightened husband? That would suck bigtime. I feel better knowing poor Mary probably had family around to help. 

Heck, even if Mary and Joseph had sheltered in a stable, surely some older woman or midwife would have been happy to assist. Even today, when people give birth precipitously in bathrooms or gas stations, perfect strangers jump right in to help!

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21 hours ago, Black Aliss said:

Except that people didn't have stables. Either they lived in caves or rough dwellings; either way hey kept their animals  with them at night, probably for warmth. And the mangers were depressions in the dirt floor that they filled with their fodder. But if there was a kataluma, it would have, by definition, been on top of a house. I doubt anyone of the house and lineage of David had to live in a cave.

I'm not going to argue religious beliefs, I am a Christian and feel like it's up to each person what they chose to believe or not.  I just am referring to what I was taught way back when.  That it was not an actual stable, but probably a cave of some type.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not to mention joseph would most definitely not been near mary at the time because it would have made him unclean. She would have been attended to by the women of the house.

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The priest at my church recently said the three wise men likely did not visit right after the birth but came a year or two later. He said they most likely visited the family home and saw Jesus as a toddler, not as a newborn.

Stolen from a friend's FB page:
Spoiler 1161183188_borninabarn.jpg.225cdbd1c5866188cd43bd7c922624cf.jpg
 


I think I’ll give it to my friends who operate the coffee shop/bar since people have an unfortunate habit of not closing the front door when they come in when it’s cold outside.
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10 hours ago, 47of74 said:

The priest at my church recently said the three wise men likely did not visit right after the birth but came a year or two later. He said they most likely visited the family home and saw Jesus as a toddler, not as a newborn.

That is why my Mom doesn't include her wise men with the shepherds when she puts up her creches (Nativity sets). Instead, on Epiphany (January 6), she puts away the shepherds and puts the wise men around the manger. Yes, she knows that an older Jesus would be more accurate, but they don't include Toddler Jesus in creches.

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6 hours ago, Audrey2 said:

That is why my Mom doesn't include her wise men with the shepherds when she puts up her creches (Nativity sets). Instead, on Epiphany (January 6), she puts away the shepherds and puts the wise men around the manger. Yes, she knows that an older Jesus would be more accurate, but they don't include Toddler Jesus in creches.

The years I have put up a creche I start with a creche with only the animals and the shepard (mine only has one) and on First Advent I put Joseph and Mary some distance from the creche and move them closer for each Advent. I also tend to move the animals around a bit each Sunday. Then on Christmas Day I put the baby Jesus in and on Epiphany I put the wise men in. The shepard stays though.

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its fascinating to me to what y'all do with your figures! i throw it all up on the mantle whenever i decorate and forget about the baby Jesus, who has been sitting in the china closet, until the day after Christmas :my_blush:

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On 12/27/2018 at 7:48 PM, Audrey2 said:

That is why my Mom doesn't include her wise men with the shepherds when she puts up her creches (Nativity sets). Instead, on Epiphany (January 6), she puts away the shepherds and puts the wise men around the manger. Yes, she knows that an older Jesus would be more accurate, but they don't include Toddler Jesus in creches.

I struggle with this. I don’t love that the wise men are part of my nativity, but my husband loves their part in the story — even if they didn’t barge in on poor Mary hours after giving birth. And I’m on the hunt for for beautiful picture books which accurately portray the nativity story timeline. 

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When my daughter started preschool (Luthern in nature to be exact) they gave her a children's bible with pictures and it depicts Jesus as a toddler when the wise men come to see him. I found that interesting.

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