The scene in this oil painting took place two millenniums ago.
The town? Bethlehem.
Bethlehem was overflowing with people who came in response to the decree of Caesar Augustus that everyone should return to their home town to be taxed. Joseph and Mary had to travel at a much slower pace than others who would have scoured the town for a lodging place long before they ever arrived.
In the oil painting, you see Joseph approaching the innkeeper’s door. You catch the strain in his voice as he asks for a room..any room..his wife is about to give birth!
No room was the dizzying reply. . . .
. . . . because there was no room for them in the inn
Christmas carols, Christmas plays, Christmas cards, shop windows and some village squares seasonally depict the unimaginable birthplace of the Son of God. A manger!
The oil painting depicts lines quoted below from O Little Town of Bethlehem, the beloved carol we sing each Christmas:
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The Everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.