On Dec. 20, our preacher spoke about “wonderful” as it’s related to Jesus based on Isaiah 9:6, including that Jesus’ birth was wonderful in his because of the simple location, which we presume to be a stable and not a corral (sheepfold), where there also would be a manger with hay.
I then wondered: Why, actually, was Jesus born in a stable or possibly even a sheepfold? The easy answer is, “Because there was no room in the inn (Luke 2:1-7).” The inn wasn’t what we call a hotel; it was likely an upper room in one of Joseph’s Bethlehem relatives’ homes that already was crowded with census travelers.
About the question, bear in mind, God does everything in his own time, which is also exactly the right time to accomplish his purposes (Ephesians 1:10; Galatians 4:3-5; Romans 5:6; Isaiah 46:9-10). So, Jesus was born when the time was right, and his purpose was to redeem those under the law of sin, which is everybody (Romans 3:23; 6:23). God could’ve picked a more convenient time so the house wouldn’t be as crowded, but it wouldn’t have been during one of the required festivals, such as Passover, because Bethlehem is only about six miles from Jerusalem and would probably be crowded then, also. So, God must’ve had some plan in mind when he caused Bethlehem to be crowded, keeping Jesus from being born in the house.
Under the Old Testament Mosaic Law, under which Jesus was born and died, Passover was celebrated with a meal centering around a lamb and unleavened bread, followed by the weeklong Festival of Unleavened Bread (Exodus12:1-20). We know Jesus became the Passover Lamb without blemish who was slaughtered for our sins (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18-21; Revelation 5:5-6).
As in New Mexico, most sheep in Israel are hardy for outdoor living and even year-round lambing, which also was good for providing a selection of unblemished lambs for year-round sacrifices. A Kentucky relative was a sheep farmer who raised sheep having a defined lambing period that took place in late winter. So, he kept his ewes in a barn to protect the newborns that weren’t as winter-hardy as the grown sheep.
So, we see that lambs are born outside or in a barn and not usually in a house, which may be the real reason there was no room in the inn. Jesus was fully God and fully man, but also the Lamb of God who spent his adult life with no permanent residence (Philippians 2:5-8; Luke 9:58).
All this is more proof that God is in charge and uses circumstances at just the right time and place to accomplish his will for the good of those who love him and who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28-29; Acts 17:25-31). So, despite all that’s happening right now, make 2021 a hopeful, happy year by remembering God always has been and always will be in control to bring about our good!
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected]