There were some shepherds staying in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks that night, when suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood among them and the glory of the Lord shone upon them. They were seized with great fear, but the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for I bring to you a message of great joy for all mankind:
“Today a Saviour is born to you in the city of David. He is the Messiah, the Lord.
And this will be the sign that you have found him: You will see a baby swaddled in cloth and lying in a manger.”
Have you ever thought about it: what was this manger that the shepherds saw Jesus lying in after his birth? When I was a child I imagined that a manger was a baby’s crib. I was very surprised when I found out what it ready was.
A manger is simply another name for an animal feeding trough. They were generally made from stone which were hollowed out for the animal feed.
Christian tradition places Jesus birth around the time of 25th December, but based on these verses to the left we can see that is very very unlikely. This date is just after the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and no shepherd would be staying out in the fields tending sheep around Bethlehem at this time of year. September is the mostly likely time of year that Jesus was born.
At another time I will write a post explaining why 24th September 3BC is the first date I would choose if I have to guess a likely day that Jesus was born.