Room in the home

Daily reading: Luke 2:1-20
Thursday, December 29, 2016

Focus passage: While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby.  She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guesthouse. Luke 2:6-7

Our pageants lead us to believe that a sympathetic innkeeper gave them space in the stable, and we imagine that it is away from the hustle and bustle of Bethlehem, almost on the outskirts of town, alone, and cold.
I like the Common English Translation, which was translated by scholars from around the world, in verse 7 we read, “she gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guesthouse.”
The Greek word that is translated as “inn” in other versions of our bible, is kataluma.  This word only occurs again in the gospels when it refers to the upper room that the disciples find for the Last Supper.  That room is not a room in an inn, it is a guesthouse in someone’s house.
Middle Eastern hospitality would make room for family, there just might not be room in the guesthouse, or in the room set aside for guests.
A typical Middle Eastern home in the ancient world would have been three stories.  The third story was open for summer sleeping and would not be used in the winter.  The second floor would have had a central room that served as a kitchen and living area, there would also be sleeping quarters where the parents would sleep and a guest room where the kids would sleep, unless they had guest and in that case the kids would sleep in the same room with their parents or in the main living space.  There was also a stable or a small barn that would be part of the home as well; it would be on the first floor of the home.
The stable, on the first floor would provide protection from the elements and safety from thieves.   


Prayer: Incarnate God, may I make room for your presence in my words and actions today.  Amen.

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