For centuries we have re-written the Christmas story so that we are more comfortable with it, and the things that matter to us are represented better. But that isn’t what happened. It wasn’t a myth, and everything didn’t happen like a perfect 21st century family Christmas. This is what it might have felt like to be there that first Christmas.

Some modern scholars attempt to make the case that Mary and Joseph would have been taken in by his family in a more communal society like 1st century Judaism. This is true, but neglects to account for the societal shunning that would have taken place with an unwed couple. I think it is far more likely in context and in scripture that they were abandoned by their family hat first night. But the bottom line is that we don’t fully know. The Bible assumes that we know a lot of cultural context that we just don’t have today.

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