Consider Jesus’ Birthplace

Big Point: Where Jesus was born may not be what you always pictured.

Luke 2:4-7 (ESV):  4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was...
with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

If you’ve been around a woman preparing to have a baby, you know that her focus and thinking shifts almost exclusively to preparing for the birth of her child as the time grows near. All activities, big or small, are influenced by the ever-present question: “What will happen if I go into labor today?”

Even though Jesus was born over 2,000 years ago, his mother, Mary, would have been thinking that same question. You don’t have to be a pregnant woman to imagine the discomfort and anxiety Mary experienced while traveling a speculated distance of 70 miles. Mary’s condition meant that their trip took much longer than it would have for others traveling back to Bethlehem. So it’s not a surprise that when they arrived, all available housing would have been taken. But, was Jesus really born in a barn? Were they really alone and rejected with no place to go? While our Christmas images today often show a wooden manger (food trough) filled with hay and baby Jesus plopped atop, is that really accurate? And, what does the phrase “there was no room in the inn” really mean? It’s time to get a fresh perspective on Luke 2:4-7.

 In ancient times in this part of the world, hospitality was a huge cultural value. This means that Bethlehem residents would have tried to accommodate as many visitors as possible. While Mary and Joseph arrived for the census after all available regular housing was taken, they weren’t necessarily banished to some random, remote outdoor barn most of us imagine. Chances are they took shelter in a cave-like stable attached to a distant relative’s dwelling. They would have been out of the elements and likely still connected to a family member’s home. Joseph was, after all, part of the lineage of King David so he would have had family close by. In addition, this meant in the days after Jesus’ birth, family and friends would have looked after the young couple and helped them with food and necessities while Mary recovered from childbirth. And, about that manger – yes, baby Jesus would have been placed in a manger since they didn’t have cradles, but it would have been clean and they would have had items to keep him warm.

Even though Jesus’ birth surroundings may not have been ideal, God used that environment to remind us that Jesus came humbly into our world, not to be above us or better than us. Jesus came to be with us, right where we are.

What is the most surprising thing you learned today about Jesus’ birth surroundings?

Think about Luke 2:4-7 through Mary and Joseph’s eyes. How would their situation challenge their faith in God’s plan for their lives? How would they celebrate God’s provision in their circumstance?
Jan Tanis
Jan Tanis

I'm Jan and I'm happy you stopped in. Please, leave a comment and follow along..


  1. Hi Jan, God gave us the Gift that keeps giving. Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas and a New Year of peace and good health. xoxo,Susie

  2. This is a beautiful gift Jan for all times. Thanks for sharing. I love the photo. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year. xo