About the author
More posts by Moderator
*Reposted from the original Rethinking the Nativity on Djibouti Jones and shared on A Life Overseas. It is a thought provoking and eye opening look at the culture around the time when Christ was born and truly shows the GRACE of His Story!
I am tired of the Christmas story.
Clarification: I’m tired of the way I keep hearing it and seeing it and reading it. Of course I’m tired of the way consumerism has hijacked this holy day but that’s not what I mean. I mean the typical western religious take on the Christmas story. Living in the developing world, in a place where women give birth at home, in a culture much closer to the culture of Jesus’ location and time in history, has changed the way I read the Bible.
Let’s think about how the story is presented in thousands of movies, children’s pageants, poems, novels, and kid’s books every year:
Joseph is a chump. He gets pushed around by some angels and then makes the totally irresponsible decision to drag a pregnant woman in her late third trimester to a town miles and miles away, on foot or maybe on a donkey. He plans this trip so poorly that they barely make it to Bethlehem on time and while Mary is (silently and peacefully) enduring labor pains, he is knocking on the doors of the local Sheraton and Holiday Inns. Apparently though Joseph is from this town, he no longer has any connections or relationship with people there so not only is he irresponsible, he must have been quite the jerk.
The streets are empty, no one sees this pregnant woman and harried man, no one cares until the hapless innkeeper reluctantly allows the couple to use his filthy, though warm and well-supplied with soft, cuddly hay, stable out back.
Mary gives birth, alone, the umbilical cord is magically cut, the placenta just disappears, though Joseph would have had no idea what to do with it and Mary would have been in no state to direct him. The baby has this funny glowing circle over his head, doesn’t cry at all, is wrapped in a dirty, torn blanket (or miraculously white and spotless blanket, depending), and is perhaps licked by the barn animals.
Some shepherds come and see the baby and the parents living in the filth and stink of an animal barn and leave rejoicing.
This makes for beautiful paintings, poetry, songs, and children’s plays. But does it fit the cultural norms? More importantly, is it what the Bible teaches?
How about this instead? (for more on this, read This Advent Season, A Look at the Real Setting) I’m not trying to add to the Biblical text, I’m not saying this is what happened. I am simply attempting to imagine another perspective. Click here to continue reading…
*Photo used with permission from JA Photography & Design