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The Great Texts of the Bible

The Great Texts of the Bible

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Excerpt from The Great Texts of the Bible: St. Luke

And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a. Manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. - Luke ii. 7.

There are not many texts in the Bible with which Christians, from the highest to the lowest, from the very aged to the young child who can but just speak, are more familiar than they are with this. We learn more or less about our Lord's cradle almost as soon as we are out of our own cradles. That one part of the gospel history we know, even when the rest has quite slipped out of our minds.

Christ's mother and Joseph had been living at their home at Nazareth when, according to St. Luke's Gospel, orders were given for one of those censuses, or enrolments of the people, which were sometimes used in ancient days as a basis for the imposition of a poll-tax. In such cases, people were enrolled according to their ancestry and the region from which they originally came and thus it was that Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into J udaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David; to enrol himself with Mary who was betrothed to him, being great with child.

The little town - it was no more than what we Should call a village - was crowded with people, many of whom had come for the same purpose and claimed the same exalted lineage; the inn or guest-chamber - there was rarely more than one in such small places - was already crowded; this carpenter and his young bride were people of no particular importance and needed no special consideration, still less did the unborn Child; and so, as there was no room for them among the human guests, they had to find shelter in the stable hard by, among the beasts.

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