|Tulip, in my yard|
I've heard so many glowing reports of Kenneth Bailey's book Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels, that I finally bought it and have begun to read it. Chapter 1, "The Story of Jesus' Birth," is probably worth the price of the entire book.
If we correctly understood the birth of Christ story we'd have to revise most of our Christmas plays. In fact, they would be more astonishing and exciting than they are even now.
"Jesus was born in a simple two-room village house such as the Middle East has known for at least three thousand years." (36) And there's much more to the real story.