Wednesday

Why was Jesus born in a manger?

By Paul Dion, STL

What is the symbolism of Jesus being born in a manger?


This is the Christmas Season and of course we have a lot of questions floating around in our heads. I hope that none of you has to figure out how to balance your check book so early in the month.

But because this is a seriously spiritual season, let's consider the story of the Nativity and some of the symbolism that the Gospel Story of Luke holds. I suggest that you find a quiet corner, your favorite "dog-eared" Bible and read the first two chapters of Luke's gospel meditatively.

Luke calls the mother of Jesus, MARY. This name means "Excellence." Or, in the words of the angel Gabriel, "Full of Grace."

The carpenter who saves Mary's honor is called JOSEPH. This means "May Yahweh add."

The mother of John the Baptist is ELIZABETH. This name means "My God is fullness."

His father carries the name ZECHARIAH. This means "Yahweh has remembered."

Finally, the name JESUS means, "God saves." The same as Joshua, the successor of Moses who led the Chosen People of God into the Promised Land, thus saving them from Egyptian slavery for good. Jesus saves us from the slavery of sin.

Amidst all this symbolism we have the symbolism of the 100 mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, three Magi, the three gifts which they brought, the visiting shepherds, the singing angels and the swaddling clothes.

I could bring up a lot more, but that should be enough for now, except for the question:

"WHAT IS THE SYMBOLISM OF JESUS BEING BORN IN A MANGER?"

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Jesus' crib is a feed box and we will eventually feed on His Body the new tree of life. Jesus who is God and has everything comes into the world not only with nothing but to a poor family as well. We strive for riches but God knows that true value lies elsewhere. Jesus not only comes for the Jews but for the Gentiles and is shown by the presence of the mage. The Gold was for who He is King of Kings; frankencense for a high priest; myrrh for the annointing of His body. I like the part about the announcements by the angels after all do we not announce the birth of our child so God the Father sends out announcements of the birth of His Son which also gives us the mission of Christ, to save His people. And what do the sheperds find a poor child born in a poor manager to a poor family. God comes among the poor to sanctify the poor, there is holiness in being poor that is difficult to attain for those with riches. Certainly His favor rests on the poor. Lk2:14

    signed, Joe

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  2. Lucia8:36 AM

    Well, to me the symbolism is multiple. One is our example to view the manger as the humility Jesus had to be born not in a palace as would befit the King of Kings, but as a human, like us in all things but sin. It was to show us that worldly possessions are not what will get us into Heaven, but a humble heart that is accepting and loving to all, like Jesus was. In the movie The Nativity, one of the last scenes is of the empty manger and the piece of swaddling that is draped over the manger. The symbolism there is of the empty tomb that would be characterized for all time as the evidence of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. When we get caught up in the materialism of the Christmas season, we can reflect on the manger where the beasts of the animal kingdom were chosen to witness His birth, the birth of the redemption of mankind from a Father who would not give up on us, but kept His promise of a Redeemer so that all people might be saved through Him. That is the gift of Christmas, the ultimate gift of God. I am sure there is more, but that is what struck me first off. Merry Christmas.

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  3. Jesus' crib is a feed box and we will eventually feed on His Body the new tree of life. Jesus who is God and has everything comes into the world not only with nothing but to a poor family as well. We strive for riches but God knows that true value lies elsewhere. Jesus not only comes for the Jews but for the Gentiles and is shown by the presence of the mage. The Gold was for who He is King of Kings; frankencense for a high priest; myrrh for the annointing of His body. I like the part about the announcements by the angels after all do we not announce the birth of our child so God the Father sends out announcements of the birth of His Son which also gives us the mission of Christ, to save His people. And what do the sheperds find a poor child born in a poor manager to a poor family. God comes among the poor to sanctify the poor, there is holiness in being poor that is difficult to attain for those with riches. Certainly His favor rests on the poor. Lk2:14

    signed, Joe

    ReplyDelete
  4. Grand Inquisitor's Comment

    The two comments that have gone before this one have captured the essence and the detail of the symbolism. We don't often think about it, but when we do, God speaks to us from the depths of our hearts and we get to know Him better. Matthew and Luke capitalized on this truth with their narratives of the infancy of Jesus. The reason why they wrote about Jesus as a child was to make us come to a better understanding of the entire reality
    of Jesus. By writing these stories, they made us apply our "Post-Resurrection" faith understanding of Jesus Christ to a fuller context of His life. In
    doing so, they connected Him, and us, to the Hebraic Faith Tradition from the Old Testament. In bridging that gap, they made Jesus' life a lot more meaningful to us.
    That is why we have to train ourselves to read deeply into everything that the authors of the Bible wrote. It is good to know the stories by heart. It is also very good to read them word for word out of the Bible during the season when the Church makes them present to us through the festive liturgical
    seasons of the calendar.

    The gospel of Luke is full of food symbolism. Luke has Jesus sitting at table with people of all socio-economic levels, teaching them about His Father. Luke, more than the other evangelist makes food signify the Divine Word because it is the Word that sustains us in our spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ.

    It is generally conceded by biblical scholars that Luke is the most gifted writer of all the evangelists. His language is very poetic, but also very precise. This is because he was well educated, sensitive, and knew his language (Greek) extremely well.
    This Christmas season, enjoy the stories of Jesus' young life more than ever. Read them carefully. Meditate on them quietly and you will feel yourself grow in your relationship with the resurrected Christ.

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  5. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Great site. Keep up the good work!

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  6. I like the part about the announcements by the angels after all do we not announce the birth of our child so God the Father sends out announcements of the birth of His Son which also gives us the mission of Christ, to save His people.This is my web du lich trong nuoc and du lich da lat

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