Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: December 23, 2019

You often hear people say, “Christmas is for children”, but Jesus himself taught that unless we become like little children, we will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. So, in reality, Christmas joy is for everyone.

Even St. Francis’ Christmas at Greccio, with the simplistic beauty of the Crèche, was not only an echo of Bethlehem, but the ultimate expression of individual devotion. I suppose, in the fullest sense, it was the prediction of the future, and within a short few years the Friars had carried it to every country of Europe and to us here this Christmas, too!

St. Bonaventure said that Francis desired this particular celebration “to move the people to greater devotion,” and moved they were to new enthusiasm and new joy. From that moment the followers of the Christ Child are intensified to bring the joy of the Child to others in our world, the Son of God becomes the loveliest of earth’s children, the dear Little Lord Jesus who is everybody’s Brother!

We see the Child Jesus throwing His arms around His Mother’s neck while artists dwell caressingly on the perfect Baby’s body that lies kicking in the straw. We find the ultimate gift of Love in Him as He opens His eyes in delight at the sight of His earthy father, St. Joseph. We find true joy as the angels become lovely dimpled babies, too, singing as they offer Him “reverence and obedience.” We find a new spring of poetic imagination had been released, and at its source stood our Seraphic Father, Francis. In almost all of the finest of artwork found in the age, the King of Heaven in Bethlehem is almost never more than that of a baby a mere hours old; truly we must be as one with the smallest among us – the child – to experience Christmas joy at its fullest!

May the true spirit of Christmas find you and your family and allow your hearts to reach out to a world in need of unconditional love and hope.

Come, Lord Christ, Come Child of Bethlehem, Come into our lives and hearts.

How will you allow the true spirit of the Season of Christmas shine in your family? Will you honor Christ at Mass; the ultimate sacrifice given for you, as the cradle preludes the cross?

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