Merry Christmas

Native home near Bethlehem, mat05495 Nativity scene in Bethlehem, early 1900s

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:4-7).

The photograph is taken from the “Christmas Story” on the Traditional Life and Customs volume of The American Colony and Eric Matson Collection (Library of Congress, LC-matpc-05495).


4 thoughts on “Merry Christmas

  1. Todd, I thought that since animals went out to graze all day that the "manger" Jesus was laid in was more likely a stone watering trough. Obviously the photo here shows a wooden manger with hay in it, with the traditional x-shaped structure. Have you ever seen a wooden trough like this in your travels? Or could the photo be a trifle bit set up to conform to Christian tradition?

  2. Lois – this photo was certainly arranged, and it appeals to a Western audience. Nevertheless, the photographers were longtime residents of Palestine and the photos do reflect contemporary cultural realities. As for wooden mangers, I have not seen any, but I haven't been in many stables in Israel. Given the prevalence of stone, I tend to believe that the manger of Jesus was made of stone and not wood.

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