In the octave of Christmas, our thoughts continue to consider the mystery of Our Lord's birth. We now look at the beasts who witnessed the Son of God being born in that Holy Night. Not having any place in the inn, Our Lady gave birth to the Savior in that place where animals are kept.
Isaiah gives light to this choice of the stable: "The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master's crib, but Israel does not know Me, my people does not understand Me" (Is. 1:3). In this prophecy, God complains that the ox and ass know their owner and source of sustainance but man does not recognize God who owns him and feeds him.
St. Cyril sees the beasts in another way: "He found that man had become a beast in his soul, and so He is placed in the manger, in the place of fodder, that we, changing our animal way of living, may be led back to the Wisdom that becomes humanity; stretching out, not towards animal fodder, but to the heavenly Bread for the life of this body." (St. Cyril)
May we recognize our true Owner, our true Source of sustenance. "The hand of the Lord feeds us, He answers all our needs." Rising from our fall, let us seek Him who is the true Bread that comes from heaven.