Every crèche erected this December witnesses to how thoroughly St.
Francis kept Christ in Christmas.
millions of television viewers tuning in for multiple seasonal specials
owe a debt of gratitude to television’s heavenly patroness, St. Clare,
whose final earthly Christmas Eve was marked by a miraculous vision of
Nativity celebrations, not in her own monastery chapel, but at the
Basilica of St. Francis on the other side of Assisi.
Jesus was born in a humble stable,
into a poor family.
Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event.
In this poverty, heaven’s glory was made manifest.
The Church never tires of singing of the glory of this night.
Neither did St. Francis and St. Clare.
The Little Poor Man, desiring to see it all as it really was, sent
oxen and asses and a crowd of townspeople climbing up
in the cold of Christmas Eve 1223 to see the new
he had erected under the stars.
Clare, glorying in the poverty of the Infant Savior, counseled her Sisters
to cherish their poor, cross-form habits
the love of the most holy and beloved Child, wrapped in such poor little
swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.
of St. Clare, Chapter 2
God has acted far beyond all
He has sent His own “beloved Son.”
Here lies the secret of real Christmas joy that neither shopping
days’ counts nor overly tinseled trees can usurp.
Who of us has not been stopped somewhere on the overly busy road to
December 25 -- perhaps in a moment of stillness or by the gentleness of a
song -- to marvel as Clare and Francis did at what REALLY took place in
Bethlehem over two thousand years ago?
O marvelous humility!
O astounding poverty!
wrote an exultant St. Clare.
The King of angels, the Lord of heaven and earth, is laid in a manger!
And the on-going Christmas wonder is that the Son of God still
desires to dwell among us, still wants to be laid in the manger of our
hearts, to begin anew His life of love in us, for it is
only when Christ is formed in us
(that) the mystery of Christmas
will be fulfilled in us.
Christmas is the mystery
of this marvelous exchange:
“we have been made sharers
in the divinity of Christ
who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.
Yes, the Church never tires of
of the glory of Christmas night. . . and neither should we.