SCOTCH PLAINS—In these days when you are viewing pageants and receiving cards that tell the Christmas story, challenge yourself and join in at the Willow Grove Church Adult Forum to learn what parts of the traditional story really appear in the Bible. Discover more of the Middle Eastern culture into which Jesus was born.
What about the word we translate inn? Where were the stable and manger located, out behind the inn? No, most Middle Eastern peasant homes were designed so that the ground floor area just inside the door was used as a place to keep the family livestock at night. The people in the house lived in an adjacent single room build a few feet higher. This arrangement had two advantages: Families could clean by sweeping everything down into the “stable,” and niches were cut into the edge of the platform to be filled with fodder, the mangers of the Nativity story. So says Dr. Kenneth Bailey, research professor of Middle Eastern New Testament studies at Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, who was raised in the Middle East.
On Sunday Dec. 7, 14 and 21 at 11:30 a.m., forum members will be viewing and discussing a video series featuring Dr. Bailey. Bring a Christmas card or two that embellishes the story to share with the class.
For more information about Willow Grove, phone the church office, Monday through Friday, at 908-232-5678, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.willowgrovechurch.org. Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is at 1961 Raritan Road, across the street from the Scotch Plains Southside Firehouse and near the corner of South Martine Avenue.
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