Things get lost in translation, no matter how wonderful or educated the translators may be. There's just some things that don't translate culturally.
For example, the Christmas story in Luke 2. Growing up, I always assumed Christ was born in a barn/stable. I don't know that I was taught that, but it's what Christmas cards and flannelgraph from Sunday School taught. (Yes, I know I just dated myself with that last sentence. Church kids today have NO idea what flannelgraph is.) When I was in college, I was surprised to hear a chapel speaker talk about the manger, and that in Israel animals were kept in one of two places: in a lean-to under or behind the house or in a cave. That was mind-boggling to me. It made perfect sense, but it was just so out of sync with everything I had ever thought.
A few days ago we received a newsletter that included an article from Jimmy De Young, (an prophecy teacher who lives in Israel and speaks a lot in America). I had to read it several times for it to make sense, and even then had to show it to Bobby to make sure I was totally grasping what he was saying. I can sometimes be a little slow that way. :) You can find the article here. I'm not big on prophecy stuff, but this made sense to me. I've often wondered what kind of sign it was for a baby to be wrapped in a feed trough. I can't imagine it was all that common, although it would make it an easier identification of the baby. But signs usually mean something. I don't know of the accuracy of De Young's information, but it makes perfect sense and also helps one understand how God was proclaiming his Messiah from the very beginning.
So I'm rejoicing and pondering this information as I celebrate this month: our Messiah has come.