Sunday, December 28, 2008

Was Jesus Born in a Manger or a Stable?

Professor Michael Barber of JPII University in San Diego, give a nice explanation of the difference between the two and what scripture says to clarify.

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:

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