Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Christmas Creche

As we enter the final days of Advent, with Christmas day looming, I reread an entry Rocco Palmo made on December 14th in his blog, “Whispers in the Loggia.” He reported on Pope Benedict XVI’s blessing of the figures of Baby Jesus, who soon be placed in the crèches many in Rome had in their homes. The Pope preached on the importance of contemplating the reality the Christmas crèche represents; that God so loved the world that He sent His Son into the world, that we all might be saved. That God the Son, was willing to come to us as a little child.

It was this example of Jesus’ love, and humility that St. Francis of Assisi wanted to celebrate when he created the first Christmas crèche in a cave near the Italian town of Greccio hundreds of years ago. And it is important to remember that in the place where Francis made this Christmas tableau, the Eucharist was celebrated, reminding the people of Greccio, and us, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, still comes to us in the form of bread and wine.

In Boston, MA, I regularly go to St. Anthony Shrine for prayer and Mass. In one of their chapels, the Franciscan friars have built a Christmas crèche. As is traditional in many churches and homes, the place for the Baby Jesus is empty right now, until Christmas day. As I meditate on the scene, it reminds me that we all wait in anticipation of the coming of the Lord into our lives. Now it maybe a coincidence, or not: but the crèche is next to a little shrine dedicated to St. Francis.

No comments:

Post a Comment