By Margaret Ikladious: Christmas Treasures (2)


Christmas Treasures (2):

 Written by Margaret Ikladious

As a continuation of the Christmas Treasures series, today, we will talk about the history of the Nativity Grotto and the characters we may see throughout the Christmas celebration period.

Second: The Grotto of Birth:

Its idea dates back to 1223 when Saint Francis of Assisi personified the first natural cave containing living creatures, such as the cave in which the baby Jesus was born.

And her body was for the people in the village and to visit her, and from here, the work of the cave began to spread everywhere.

In the 15th century AD, the custom began in Italy to build fixed caves in homes made of different materials and methods.

The traditional cave contains:

Baby Jesus inside a manger (a manger and a place to eat for animals)

And Virgin Marry with Joseph, as well as the shepherds, the wise men, the cow, the donkey, the sheep, the star, the angels, the gifts presented to the child, and everyone who has a religious and spiritual significance in the Christian faith, provided that it takes into account the harmony between the meanings of poverty and simplicity with the King, wealth and wisdom embodied in the cave.

+ Jesus Christ as a Child:

He is the owner of the feast and was born in the livestock supply to teach us humility and genuine love through sacrifice, leaving his heavenly throne and the bosom of his father, and came down and incarnated for humans to bear our sins and save us.

+ Joseph and Mary:

The symbols of all humanity, where man and woman are together "the image and likeness of God," as stated in the Book of Genesis: "God created man in his image, and in the image of God he created human beings, male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27).

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And they represent the category of the poor and the simple, being the most inferior class of the people in those days, waiting for the coming of Christ, to relieve the suffering and the sorrowful sufferers, and to bless them with joy and peace. In addition, they remind us that Christ is the true shepherd who came out of the descendants of King David, and he is the King who was born as a shepherd.

+ Magi:

The Magi are Chaldean or Persian princes or priests interested in studying astronomy and astronomical phenomena. That is, those who prophesy about events by reading the stars and have worshiped the four elements: fire, water, earth, and air, but most of their worship was confined to fire, and they were the first pagans who entered the Christian Church.

Two traditions deal with the research into the origin of the Magi, the first being eastern (Syriac) and the second western.

The eastern tradition says that the Magi were twelve, who followed the star that appeared to them until they reached the city of Edessa (present-day Urfa), located in the upper Mesopotamia, where they experienced famine and poverty in Palestine. On not being able to see the wondrous baby.

 As for the Western tradition says that the three Magi came, most likely, from the areas surrounding the city of Babylon, and they were either princes, scholars, or priests who worshiped ancient eastern gods, and most likely they were from the worshipers of fire.

The Western Church says that they were three wise men, assuming they offered some of the three mentioned gifts.

Given that the two traditions, that is, eastern and western, pass on to us the Syriac Aramaic names of these Magi, it is most likely that they were of Assyrian or Aramaic origin.

And the names that Westerners transmitted are:

Malkoon, Kaspar, and Baghdasar.

"Malkin" (Malik) is a diminutive of the Aramaic word mark, which means King, and "Kasbar" is an abbreviation of "the yolk planet," which is a compound Aramaic name meaning the morning planet. .!!

They also remind us of the Messiah, the King of the kings who bowed to him and was spoken of by the prophets and for whom humanity has waited for centuries.

+ cow:

It is a symbol of the material food that is indispensable for man, not to live for him, but to help him to live and be able to serve the true God and a symbol of the cow that warms Christ in the hay manger.


The primary means of land transportation for the general public. It looks like a symbol of patience and enduring hardships in the path of faith and the service of the Savior.

+ sheep:

It is a means of food and heating, and it symbolizes the flock of sheep and the necessary unity of the community of believers who keep the warmth of faith in their hearts.

+ dove:

A symbol of the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Holy Trinity, is a pure white dove, which descended upon the Virgin and accompanied her throughout the months of the Holy Conception.

+ beauty:

The "Magi" who expected the birth of Jesus was depicted as arriving on the backs of camels.

+ Angels:

They symbolize God's active presence among people, provided that it is not hindered by the hardness of hearts and the darkness of consciences.

+ gold:

A symbol of the King, and there is no gift worthy of a king more than gold, and this gift was another recognition of the kingship of Christ.

+ incense:

A symbol of the priesthood, which is one of the manifestations of worship and an indication of the divinity of Christ.

+ myrrh:

It is a symbol of the pain and suffering that Christ tasted, which no human being could and will not be able to bear, and it shows the great sacrifices he made to save us.

+hay manger:

When God surrendered and decided to incarnate and resemble us with our human nature, but without sin, he chose to come to this world in a cold cave among the animals to teach us humility and genuine love through sacrifice and leave him to his heavenly throne and the bosom of his father and came down to us humans to carry our sins and save us.

He was born with a straw feeder (beast feeder) intended for feeding animals.

It was usually a basin carved into a piece of rock, or it might be made in a box of wood, metal, or masonry.

He was not equipped with any clothes or robes worthy of him as a king, but he was born in a poor place, wore swaddling clothes, and slept among the animals.

And whose breath in that cave warmed the air and protected the newborn child from cold and frost.

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