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Christmas Day

Today we celebrate the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus, who is also Emmanuel: God with us.

Francis wanted to make this self-giving of God vivid and real, and so he created the first Christmas crib. At a small town called Greccio, in December 1223, he asked a man named John to prepare a manger, with hay, an ox and an ass. Then Francis came with his brothers and the local people to celebrate Christmas with great rejoicing, and Francis sang the gospel and preached powerfully ‘on the nativity of the poor King’.

As Franciscans we talk about a journey to God that is not upward in some straight line but that is inward, toward a new relationship with God in which God takes on flesh anew in our lives. We do not go to God as if God is somewhere ‘up there’ in the starry heavens awaiting our arrival, but focus of the God who has ‘come to us’ in the Incarnation.

Bonaventure (Minister General of the Franciscan Order from 1257 and Francis’ official biographer) wrote: “The eternal God has humbly bent down and lifted the dust of our nature into unity with his own person”. We move towards God, because God has first moved towards us: this is the Franciscan path of prayer.

‘And we thank You
for as through your Son You created us
so also, through Your holy love, with which You loved us
You brought about his birth
as true God and true man
by the glorious, ever-virgin, most blessed, holy Mary.’
(Earlier Rule by Saint Francis)

 

Music for reflection:Angel Dance
from ‘The Company of Angels’ by Briege O’ Hare(used with permission)

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Nativity © The Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey
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