The Adoration of the Shepherds, by Marcellus Coffermans


The Birth of Christ (Luke 2:1-7)

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Did you know…?

  • that the word ‘manger’ comes from the old French word ‘mangier’, which means ‘to eat’?
  • that ‘Bethlehem’ comes from the old Hebrew ‘beth’ (house) and ‘lehem’ (bread), and that in John’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that he is the bread of life?
  • that, for much of our past, human beings and livestock lived together under the same roof, in a housebarn, allowing us to benefit from the heat generated by our animals? This also helped keep them safe from thieves and stopped us getting cold when we were feeding them.
  • that 53% of UK adults own a pet, 29% of UK adults have a dog and 24% of us have a cat? (That’s some 11 million pet dogs!)

Have you ever…?

  • observed pets or other animals when they eat? What sort of food do you give them and why? How do they respond when you feed them? How do you feel when you feed them?
  • enjoyed being somewhere where you felt warm and sheltered and secure from the world outside? What was it like?
  • wondered about the outside world and how important it is to you? How do you interact with it? What effect does it have on you and how does that effect carry through into other parts of your life?
  • thought about what brings you a sense of well-being?

You might like to…

  • think about the many people involved in getting us the food we eat – farmers, factory workers, bakers, sailors, drivers and many more.
  • visit a farm.
  • look after a friend’s pet for a weekend.
  • listen to Bethlehem Down by Peter Warlock.

If you would like to hear more about spiritual food and the nourishment it can bring, please come to our short talk at 10am at St Matthew’s on Saturday 20 January 2024.