Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Why Was Jesus Born in a Stable?

Every year, around Christmas time, we hear a lot about the fact that Jesus was "born in a manger." There are even songs about it! 
However, it is important to point out--as I often do to my students, since it's one of my pet peeves--that Jesus was not born in a manger.  According to the Gospel of Luke, he was "laid in a manger"--i.e., a feeding trough for animals--"because there was no place for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7).  This suggests that he was born someplace where animals were housed--probably some kind of stable.
Why is this detail significant? First of all, it points up the utter poverty in which Jesus came into the world. But Saint Jerome gives an even deeper reflection (one which I've never heard from the pulpit). According to Jerome, although it would have been fitting for Christ to come into the Holy of Holies in the Temple, he came into this world in a stinking stable, for us:
"Christ found no room in the Holy of Holies that shone with gold, precious stones, pure silk and silver. He is not born in the midst of gold and riches, but in the midst of dung, in a stable where our sins were filthier than the dung. He is born on a dunghill in order to lift up those who come from it: 'From the dunghill he lifts up the poor' (Ps 113:7)" (Jerome, On the Nativity of the Lord, ACCSNT 3:39).
Leave it to Jerome to get right to the point and never mince words.
Gloria in altissimis Deo!
Merry Christmas, everyone.


DimBulb said...

He the midst of dung.

Today, perhaps, he would have been born in a department store on black Friday.

Taylor Marshall said...

The reference to the "manger" is also Eucharistic - it's a place of feeding. This compliments the setting of Bethelehem as the "house of bread".

UP said...

Thanks for addressing one of my pet peeves as well.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

viagra online
buy viagra
generic viagra

pharmacy dropshipping said...

I never knew that there could be something better to know about than from this piece of article. I shall have this forwarded to all my friends and even my dad, I am sure they too shall enjoy reading this piece.

sunny Shabalala said...

Thank you so much i m happy for this page that made me understand ,and the other thing made me up to this page is i was listening on other song where is say the reason why jesus was born in a temple is because it was the way or it was the way to report to the animal that the blood of those animals it doesn't have power anymore i believe that was the way that only blood of jesus can help remove sin .
pleae reply wanna understand