Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
From the Gospel of Luke we know that Jesus was laid in a manger in Bethlehem.
But do you know what a manger looked like at that time? Most of the Nativity Sets that you see today do not give accurate depictions.
A manger is most often depicted as made of wood.
At the time of the birth of Jesus, a manger would most likely be made of clay or stone.
Here is an example of a manger from an earlier time period. This picture was taken at Megiddo. You can see that it is quite a bit different from what we usually see depicted today.
Here is a picture taken from above. You can see that the stone has been hollowed out and it is about the right size for cradling a baby.
Here is an interesting picture that I also took at Megiddo. King Ahab used Megiddo as a chariot city. In this picture we see the ruins of one of the stables and the mangers that were used to feed the horses.
I like the metal cutout of the horse in the the picture.
Here is another picture showing the stable. You can see the large central walkway with a row of mangers on both sides.
This is the traditional location in Bethlehem of the manger where Jesus was laid. If you look closely you can see a painting behind the screen that shows Jesus laying in a manger.
Mangers were also carved out of natural rock formations, which may have been the case in the grotto that is beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Here the manger is made from marble, but of course was constructed much later.
There was a lady with the group of tourists just ahead of us who had a little baby doll that she laid in the manger before praying over it. She did the same at the traditional birthplace which was just a few meters away.
See my post O Little Town for more pictures from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.