A manger is a crib or feeding trough where food or water for animals is placed.
All our lives we have envisioned the Christmas manger being made of wood. But in the Near East almost all the mangers that have been uncovered were carved from natural rock. David Padfield took the above left photograph at Megiddo where this manger was used in the stables of King Ahab.
According to archeologist Jeffrey Chadwick, archeologists have found several limestone mangers in Israel (limestone was abundant there). They were usually block-like in shape: 12”- 15” tall for sheep and goats, and 24”- 30” tall for donkeys and cattle. There was a shallow basin in the top of the trough that was about 6” – 8” deep with a flat or concave bottom.
Mangers were located in stables, in caves, off courtyards, and in the lower level of houses where animals were kept.
Most important though, regardless of what the manger or stable was constructed of or even how we display our treasured nativity sets, is the fact that God the Father, out of love for us, sent His Son to be our Savior. And that He came from the majesty of heaven to our lowly earth, into the lowliest of circumstances so all people of every class could realize that He came for each of us, no matter our status.