We're looking at common misconceptions found in nativity narratives and most nativity scenes. Last week gave biblical answers for three misconceptions about Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem and their arrival in the city. This week addresses three more misconceptions. Although many nativity scenes, pageants and Christmas narratives portray things that are not biblically supported, we can still enjoy them. But we should not let them form our theology.
Misconceptions about the Place of Jesus' Birth
Did the innkeeper send Mary and Joseph away because there was no room in the inn?
Someone turned them away, but not necessarily an innkeeper. The Bible records "there was no room for them in the inn," but there is no mention of an innkeeper. The presence of an "innkeeper" has been popularized by Christmas narratives, pageants and nativity scenes that portray Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem and being turned away for lack of room.
"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)
The idea of an innkeeper is based on translation of the Greek word kataluma to the English word "inn." But that word can also mean something else.