Sunday, 23 December 2012

There Was No Inn

The Christmas story is known and loved by many people.  But there is as much myth as fact surrounding this unique story in the minds of many, and the church has contributed to many of these fallacies.

One of these is the invention of an inn and consequently an innkeeper which the work of the translators contributed to.  Luke wrote about a guest chamber, which was also shared with the family's animals.  Bethlehem was too small to have an inn or hostel.  If there was no inn, then there was no innkeeper.  Yet this myth has been peddled for generations, and is still being promoted today by the church.  I heard on the radio this morning that a Presbyterian minister was to play the part of the (non-existent) innkeeper, thus perpetuating the myth.

However, let's get back to the central point.  The Son of God and Saviour of the world was born in Bethlehem of Judea, born to very poor 'parents,' and in poverty-stricken circumstances.  He came, not just to live but eventually to die as the world's sin-bearer so that we might be saved.  It's sad that poor translation work gets in the way of the truth of the Gospel.

The truth is that the atonement required the incarnation.  For sin to be borne away, the Saviour had to be born; it is this that we remember and celebrate at Christmas.

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