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“The custom of setting up a Christmas crib in one’s home—not simply outside a church—reinforces the personal challenge represented by the Incarnation. The Incarnation changes everything in human history. We become different people because of it. In Francis’s day, many thought first of Jesus dying on the cross and only later about his birth in Bethlehem. Popularizing the crib reminded people of the great love that led to Jesus’s becoming one of us without compromising his divine nature. After that celebration in Greccio, participants could well have said, “This changes everything!” We could admire Jesus’s birth as an historical moment that becomes more distant with each passing year, or with Francis’s help, we can see it as an ongoing event and act accordingly.”

—from the book Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of Assisi


“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart.”

— St. Therese of Lisieux


“In that blessed [Christmas] night also Joseph became the patron, the vicar, and the patriarch of the whole Catholic Church. It is certain, St. Athanasius tells us, that the stable where Jesus was born is ‘a figure of the Church, whose altar is the manger, whose vicar is Joseph, whose ministers are the shepherds, whose priests are the angels, whose great High-Priest is Jesus Christ, and whose throne is the Blessed Virgin.'”

— Edward Healy Thompson



December 2018