Dan McClellan drew my attention to this fascinating short Christmas movie, The Christ Child, with dialogue entirely in Aramaic. The film’s website answers a number of questions, such as this one:
Why was the stable set inside of a home?
In first-century Jerusalem, animals were usually kept inside the house. The stable where Jesus was born may actually have been an interior courtyard or even a cave adjacent to the living quarters. It’s likely that Jesus was born in the stable of a welcoming family home—contrary to the popular depiction of His birth in a cold and secluded hideaway.
Since the film was made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you will find still more information on their website as well as other sources connected with that tradition. I think it is fascinating to endeavor to make these events seem linguistically, culturally, and historically foreign to people in the modern English-speaking world. It may be impossible to take such a familiar set of stories and truly make them alien in this way, especially when the portrayal is heavily influenced by familiar tradition. But the very concept itself is important and worthwhile, and the result is quite powerful. What do you think of it?
Elsewhere in the spirit of Christmas, I came across a reflection on an important topic, although I think reflection on when Jesus was an embryo should lead to more significant changes to traditional ways of thinking about him.