The story of Jacob's Ladder from the book of Genesis is read in the Eastern Orthodox Church on the Feast of the Nativity. In the minds of the early Church Fathers, this image pointed to the Virgin Mary. Just as in Jacob's dream, where a ladder ascends to heaven and angels climb down the ladder, so, in Christian tradition, God climbs down the ladder toward Earth through Mary, who becomes the ladder — the bridge between heaven and Earth.
When Jacob awoke from sleeping on his stone pillow, he declared, “How awesome is this place! This is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 28:17). This proclamation is read by Christian interpreters to connect Jacob's vision to Mary because in other writings, Mary's womb is “the gate of heaven.” She is also viewed by many early Christian writers as the house or the temple of God, because God dwelt in her and made her holy. The images used by the fathers and in the Scriptures are all related, complementing each other and each offering a fuller picture of the Virgin Mary.