MANGER AND THE MESSIAH
The manger was a feeding holder for animals. That was the only available place to hold the Baby Jesus with straw forming a warm bed. The ox and ass facing the manger could warm the baby in the winter. Fathers of the church refer this to Isaiah 1:3: “The ox knows its master and the ass its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Most Israelites could not recognize the Messiah born in a cattle-shed and resting in a manger.
Because of Mary’s advanced pregnancy, Joseph and Mary traveled slowly from Nazareth to Bethlehem. So, they could not reach on time to get accommodation in an inn. The inn during that time was a primitive shelter with accommodation for animals. According to Biblical scholars, Bethlehem being a small city would have only one inn.
Jesus taught us the value of humility and servant leadership. Jesus told of himself, “I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29). Let us remember the words of Jesus: “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3-4).