Prayer Reflections

Do you have a favorite crèche scene… one perhaps handed down to you by your grandmother… or maybe it's the corn husk crib you bought on vacation in Arkansas… or the Precious Moments characters with their big eyes and full cheeks? Does the religious congregation you are associated with have an enormous display of cribs from around the world where members have served? Personally, one of my favorite crib scenes comes from Haiti. The stable is a hollowed out coconut shell and all the figures are rolled-up balls of clay. Sheep and shepherd have a similar look except for a twig staff. It matters not the age or appearance of the crèche under your Christmas tree, in the nave of you parish church or even the plywood personalities in your neighbor's yard.

crècheWhatever the design, simple or extravagant, fitting in the palm of your hand or expanded live-action at the local park, the crèche is a reminder that the "Word made flesh and dwells among us." Not just on December 25, but every day you and I are called to incarnate Christ in our interaction with others. The great mystic, Meister Eckhart once said, "What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to the Son of God… if I do not give birth to the Son of God in my time and culture?"

Do enjoy the artistic creativity and ethnic diversity you might see during this Christmas Season. Take time to pray to be an ambassador of Christ, emphasizing the charism of your congregation, as the New Year unfolds. Seek out ways and means to enflesh Gospel values in your daily life.

The first reading during daytime Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity proclaims from Isaiah 52:

How beautiful upon the mountains

are the feet of those who bring glad tidings,

announcing peace, bearing good news…

Reflection and Prayer: Pray with a favorite crèche. Consider journaling your thoughts on what the birth of Jesus means to you in your lived experience in the here and now.

Photo by Sr. Joel Miller, MSC

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