5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Commentary: This is one of the most familiar scenes in Christianity; Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus, surrounded by animals. The animals, you note, are not in the text. We can deduce them by the use of the word which is translated as “manger” (from the French “to eat”), which in Greek has the sense of a place from which animals are fed. Likewise, we place an innkeeper in the picture, although the word here translated as “inn” could be any room not used regularly as part of a dwelling. Again, the variances in detail don’t change the feel of the story. Rather than giving birth at home, with her family all around her, Mary is forced to improvise in a strange place with a newborn. Behold the newborn King!
To Ponder: Has there been a time when you were in a strange place just trying to make your way? If you have had children, do you remember the day of their birth? Is there a young mother you know who could use help during this season?