Lesson Unit 1
Christianity - a Religion of the Incarnation
From the Sources
How Francis celebrated Christmas
It was December 1223. Francis was living in a hermitage near Greccio, a small town in the Rieti Valley. He was struck by an idea there and then. How would it be, he thought, if he were to see with his own eyes how God chose to be small? How would he feel if he were to touch with his own fingers the misery in which Jesus was born in Bethlehem at that time? Yes, what about inhaling through his own nostrils the odor of the ox and the donkey while with his whole being he bends over the great poverty that Jesus took upon himself in that manger. Evidently, Francis is not a mere dreamer! He actualizes his dreams and makes them come true. Therefore, at a specific time Francis invites a couple to meet him in a certain cave. He asks them to bring an ox and an ass into that cave and to prepare a hay-covered manger. Above all, he invites people from all walks of life to come, as many as are able to join him. There and then Francis realizes how God humbles himself everyday. There he touches God’s poverty; he smells God’s presence among the animals as he bends over the poor God. And with the people, he sings the song of God’s human countenance. (cf. 1Cel 84).
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