Posts Tagged ‘Bethlehem’


It’s shaking up the Christmas myths time of the year time.

Recently I posted So what really happened at Bethlehem giving a nod to Eddie Arthur for drawing attention to the blog from Djibouti Jones who admits to getting her ideas from Kenneth Bailey’s Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes.

The Wycliffe UK blog has re-posted Eddie this morning… and then I read Alan Wilson’s post in Time for Thought.

…the translators of our English Bible should probably have translated ‘guest room’ instead of inn. It’s more likely that Joseph and Mary turned up in Bethlehem hoping to find accommodation with some of Joseph’s relatives: after all Bethlehem is where Joseph was from. Nor do we need to imagine a scene of frantic searching for last minute rooms while Mary groaned with the pain of contractions! Luke simply says that while they were there’ it came time for her to give birth. We don’t know how long they had been in Bethlehem before the birth.

Alan also refers us back to a previous blog in which he too references Kenneth Bailey (not too surprising really).

My question is this: if there was no innkeeper because there was no inn… why have we stuck with this less than accurate version of the Nativity for so long?

Alan reminds us of some of the true realities of Christ’s birth:

None of this, however, should take away from the fact of the stunningly simple and uncomfortable surroundings in which the birth of the Son of God took place. That God’s Son slept in an animal feeding trough is a challenge to those occasions when we have fumed because a busy train carriage has meant that we have had to stand, or because the TV remote wasn’t working properly in our hotel room, or because our flight was cancelled and we had to sit for four hours in a crowded airport!

And I find that the angels’ message to the shepherds is much in my mind this Christmas…

But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

The amazing good news of Christ’s birth is for all people. We may be confusing some of the details of that birth, but as speakers of English, we have the good news. The good news is still hidden and inaccessible for speakers of 1,919 languages without any translation of the Bible in their heart language.

I am delighted that Alan Wilson has recently become a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK’s Northern Ireland Council. I’m sure he won’t mind me borrowing his picture for this post…

Happy Christmas everyone!

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I have been following SU WordLive’s animated video during Advent…

Today, on Boxing Day it comes to an end… not with praise and worship and “Glory to God in the highest” – but with an asylum seeking family; with infanticide; the anguished uncomprehension of parents: the horror of King Herod’s self-centred, self-serving, senseless and futile massacre of innocent children.

Have you watched to the end?

Did you notice what it said at the end of the animation?  “The End?”

This event too had been foretold. See Matthew 2:13-18

God was and is still working out his purposes despite the evil of powerful men and the willingness of soldiers to obey evil orders.

Access SU WordLive’s Advent animation series with various options here

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Pottery nativity

Pottery nativity

Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus in a stable is the stuff of nativity scenes: carved figures, paintings, pottery versions. But what was it really like?

SU WordLive’s Advent animated video reached the stage yesterday when Mary and Joseph faced the problems of a lack of suitable accommodation in census crowded Bethlehem…

Take a look and empathise with the stresses on Joseph finding a place for his pregnant wife.

My recent “No room at the inn” focussed on hospitality African style. Which hospitality do you prefer – Bethlehem or Nairobi? Which style do we live out where we are?

Access SU WordLive’s Advent animation series with various options here

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