In Greccio, Italy, there lived a nobleman of good reputation and exemplary spiritual life by the name of John. Despite his place as “nobility,” Francis had a special affection for John and used his cave as a place for prayer whenever he visited. According to Thomas of Celano [St. Francis’s first biographer], as Francis developed this idea of a celebration of the Nativity, he called John and said, “Hurry before me and carefully make ready the things I tell you. For I wish to enact the memory of that Babe who was born in Bethlehem: to see as much as is possible with my own bodily eyes the discomfort of his infant needs, how he lay in a manger, and how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he rested on hay.”
—Larry J. Peacock, The Living Nativity: Preparing for Christmas with Saint Francis (Upper Room Books, 2018)
How often during the Advent and Christmas seasons did you thank God for the gift of Jesus? Join the conversation.
[Mary] gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
—Luke 2:7 (CEB)
Prayer for the Week
Surprising God, thank you for choosing to be with us as a child who needs our care and tenderness in an often harsh world. Thank you for your humble beginnings, showing us that we don’t need to look too high or too far to find your presence in the ordinary, the humble, the poor, or the beautiful. Thank you that your love reaches us again and again. Amen.
Prayer by Larry J. Peacock
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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