Message for December 12


The manger, a feeding trough for animals, is highly symbolic and foreshadows the Eucharist. One of the most profound symbols associated with the birth of Jesus is themanger. The Virgin Mary, “Wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). A manger is a feeding trough for animals and was likely the cleanest place in the stable where the Virgin Mary could place the baby Jesus. Christians would later reflect on this profoundly symbolic action and find a connection to the Holy Eucharist, where Jesus himself becomes food for humanity. St. Cyril of Alexandria in the 5th century explains, “The setting of Christ’s birth points us to the Eucharist. Since through sin man becomes like the beasts, Christ lies in the trough where animals feed, offering them, not hay, but his own body of lifegiving bread.” As we kneel before the altar with the view of the nativity scene this Christmas, dwell upon the beautiful gift of the Eucharist and how we can prepare to receive Jesus into our hearts.

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