Christmas is the nativity scene, whether in our churches or at the foot of our fir trees. But why the attachment to this symbol, even for those who are distant from the faith? Perhaps because the nativity scene stages something universal: birth. Even if we don’t remember it, we are all born of a woman.

The child in the nursery also reminds us of the condition of our coming into the world: naked, vulnerable, totally dependent… « ‘When the Word became flesh’, he took the common path of men, which they share with other mammals: he was formed in the womb of a woman and, when the time came, he crossed the dark and perilous passage which leads to the light; he took the trouble to be born,” writes Marie-Hélène Congourdeau in an issue of the magazine communion (Volume 47/2, 2002) devoted to the theme of birth.

« Being born is always an adventure, but we are no longer alone to live it: Christ lived it too, he went through this path », continues the historian specializing in the Fathers of the Church. At the manger, God thus comes to cross our path as men. “He has sanctified all newborn babies,” said Saint Irenaeus. Looking at the manger, it is the mystery of our own redemption that it is given to us to contemplate: the infant who sleeps in the manger of the manger is also each of us. And, under the loving gaze of the Father, we have nothing to fear from the life that opens before us.


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