No Crib for a Bed
And she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough (Luke 2:7, NCV).
Read it again. This is the New Century Version’s rendering of one of the most familiar pieces of scripture in the Bible. What’s that? Not quite the way you recall the story? You ask, “What happened to the soft, swaddling clothes and the quaint little manger?” It’s easy for us to sanitize the reality of the situation, and thereby remove some of the irony. The fact is, the Savior of the human race, the King of kings and Lord of lords, was wrapped in rags and set to rest in an icky trough that was used to feed pigs and cows.
Why would a mother allow this for her child? Well, she had no choice because there was no room for them anywhere else. Perhaps a better question would be, why would our Father permit His Child to be treated in this manner? Well, in addition to prophecy being fulfilled, maybe God also knew that His Child had to experience humanity. He needed to know what it was like to be homeless, helpless, and in poverty. Later, He needed to understand hunger, the deaths of loved ones, persecution, and even His own death. Jesus needed to experience humankind—as He came to die for humankind.
And that, my friends, is the real, unvarnished Christmas story.