The temperatures in Bethlehem during the winter can be quite chilly. Sometimes it even snows in the highlands. Was Jesus born in December? If He was, it could very easily have been raining and in the forties on the night of His birth.
The stable Jesus was born in most likely looked like this or similar. This is the remains of a stable in Chorazin. The animals were housed in the back and the food/supplies kept in the front. Other “stables” would have looked more like caves than actual structures. Definitely not a comfortable/roomy place to give birth.
Lastly, the manger. A dirty pit for hay or water that Jesus was placed in so that He was at least off the ground and away from animal feces and dirt.
This is the real Nativity scene, no angel choir or glowing faces. Mary was probably exhausted and uncomfortable (this was her first birth, as a virgin no less), and Joseph was a very stressed first-time dad. He probably had to coach his wife through the labor on top of having to bare the misunderstanding from his family and the feeling of not being “cut out” for this. As a husband, it’s his duty to protect and provide, and yet Mary had to give birth in a stable, this beautiful moment was Joseph’s hardest trial.
Mary was very young, and also bore the weight of undeserved shame from those who didn’t believe her story. She had to travel away from her home, severely pregnant, on the back of a donkey. She had to face the fear of giving birth to God’s Son in a stable when a clean, warm inn was only yards away. She probably felt pretty unqualified for this job too, and yet, after the suffering and pain, there lies baby Jesus, God amongst man. And then come the wise men and shepherds bearing gifts for the King.
They were a pick-me-up from God, showing Joseph and Mary that He was well pleased with them. It was like He was telling Joseph, “do not fear, I am provider,” and showing Mary, “daughter, you answered my call and that is what qualifies you to raise my Son.”
That is the real Nativity scene.