Translating the Christmas Story

I recently read this story and I wanted to share it.

By Ron Snell, son of translators
“And it came to pass in those days,” began the story, “that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus.” Well now, that’s a bit of a problem. The Machis had never had any system of government more complicated than a household headman who got his power either by being the dad of the family, or by being an exceptionally good story teller . . .

Anyway, the story goes on to say that whoever it was decreed that a census should be taken. The Machis didn’t have a clue what a census was, though it would have been easy to take, given the fact they didn’t count past four. “One, two, three, four, many.” They had never cared how many of themselves there were, and hadn’t a clue why anyone else would care. Of course Caesar Augustus cared because he wanted all the world to be taxed. Fine. But what’s a tax? The Machis never had money, and if they had they wouldn’t have given it to somebody they didn’t know.  And besides, what did that have to do with counting the number of people there were.

So everyone went to be taxed, each to his own town. What’s a town? When Dad and Mom started their work, Timpia was about as large as a community got; one house for the Machis who lived there, one house for the Spanish landowner who made them work for him, and eventually one house for our family. It wasn’t exactly Bethlehem.

. . . Mary was pregnant and about to deliver her baby. The Machis at least knew about women being pregnant, not that they would know about being engaged or betrothed. Mary and Joseph headed for the inn . . . Mary gave birth to Jesus, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. Oh dear. What’s an inn? What’s a manger?

In the fields nearby, shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks, as you know. What you didn’t know is that the Amazon Indians didn’t keep animals except for dogs and the rare monkey, tapir or parrot that they caught alive. Those didn’t exactly qualify as flocks of sheep. They had no notion of how or why you would have people sitting out in a field watching animals, as if you could see them anyway in the jungle. The Machis sometimes spent days looking for an animal to eat. Besides, what’s a sheep? . . .

Read the rest of the story – Life is a Jungle by Ron Snell

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3 Responses to Translating the Christmas Story

  1. Pop-Pop says:

    The challenge to tell the story in a way people can understand is great. We are so thankful you are rising to the challenge. We pray daily that God will not only use you to make the story of Jesus clear – but that it will become more clear in your hearts and minds daily.

  2. Michael Turner says:

    Thanks for the story. We have read all of the Ron Snell books as a family and loved them. We recommend them to anyone. As always, David, thank you for your posts. We enjoy them.

    • David says:

      Glad you enjoy the blog – I thought it was a great story and wanted to share it. I’ve been praying for your family and that the remaining partners will come quickly!

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