The Heart of the Manger
In our Western culture, we set up our nativity scenes with Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus in the center, and the shepherds, wisemen and animals all around. We assume that the manger was out in a stable or barn like structure.
This is not an accurate picture. First we must remember that Jesus was born in the Middle East, not the West. Second, we must look at the culture of the day in Bethlehem.
In that context, we find that Luke uses the word “kataluma” to describe where Jesus was born. Homes during that day were small and multi leveled. The bottom floor had a place to cook meals, and another section for the animals. It was normal to bring the animals inside for the night. It is in this area that the manger would be found.
The second floor was where the family ate and slept. The top floor was a guest room. Both Mary and Joseph had family in Bethlehem. Mary had here cousin Elizabeth whom she had visited earlier.
Jesus was born inside a home in Bethlehem, in the Kataluma, and was wrapped in clothes and was placed in the manger. I find it interesting that the Kataluma area is in the center of the home. Jesus came into our world and wants to be the center of our lives.
Ponder the Kataluma, the center of everything, during the Holidays.