Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Dec. 25, 2022

Reflection for Dec. 25, 2022

Poverty exalted

Manger scene  expresses love -- pure and simple

by Sister Laura Zelten

“I bring news of great joy, today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

I love the joyous spirit of the manger scene. All the beautiful pieces that come together on that holy night: angels sing, shepherds go in haste, the babe is wrapped in swaddling clothes.  I imagine Mary holding  baby Jesus close to her heart. 

St. Francis of Assisi teaches us that the Christmas scene is love pure and simple.  It is about seeing the Christ child with our own heart. The story of Christmas at Greccio, Italy, is one of the most popular stories about St. Francis.  He wanted to celebrate Christmas in way that would speak to the hearts of his brothers and peasant people of his time. He brought in real animals to set the simple scene.  He showed the birth of Jesus (the Incarnation) as love, pure and simple. 

“Finally, the day of joy has drawn near; the time of exultation has come. From many different places the brothers have been called. As they could, the men and women of the neighborhood with exultant hearts prepared candles and torches to light up that night whose shining star has enlightened every day and year. Finally, the holy man of God (Francis) comes and, finding all things prepared, he saw them and was glad. Indeed, the manger is prepared, the hay is carried in, and the ox and the ass are led to the spot. There simplicity is given a place of honor, poverty is exalted, and humility is commended, and out of Greccio is made a new Bethlehem.” (The Life of St. Francis of Assisi by Thomas of Celano)

May the birth of Jesus be at the center of your Christmas celebrations.  May the joy of the Christmas season be in our hearts throughout the coming year. 


Sister Sally Ann
12/21/2022 3:42 pm

Thank you, Laura, for connecting us once again to the essence of Christmas, the in-breaking of Love Incarnate into human history. St. Francis' modeling of the true meaning of Christmas is a great reminder for all of us about the true meaning of Christmas.

Agnes Fischer
12/23/2022 7:52 am

Thanks, Laura, blessings on all of you, especially Butch and Verna.

Mary M. Freeman
12/23/2022 8:22 am

Thank you for this gentle reminder of the real meaning of Christmas. I believe Jesus is telling us to slow down and appreciate the real meaning of the Spirit of Christmas. For some it is taking a weather event to slow us down and ponder all the blessings of this holy season.

Ellen Kane
12/23/2022 9:55 am

Oh, Sr. Laura, thank you for reminding us of St. Francis' role in Christmas and to keep Christmas in our hearts all year long!

Sr, Rose Jochmann
12/23/2022 10:19 am

Hi, Laura,

Wonderful reflection for Christmas. I appreciate that you included Francis's contribution to how we celebrate the core of Christmas- Christ has come among us,

Irene Whatley
12/23/2022 5:03 pm

Thank you for the inspiring words of the real meaning and beauty of Christmas. We can never love God as he loves us but we can give our best.

Cheryl Mueller
12/23/2022 8:13 pm

Laura, you have expressed what so many are forgetting...Christmas is about the gift of God's loving presence among us. Thank you.

Joan Jadin
01/02/2023 7:35 pm

Thank you for your thoughts! for 31 years we have been celebrating Christmas with our family with an overnight stay at a hotel. We all bring food and drinks, Each year we have a Christmas play, first with the grandchildren, now with the great-grandchildren taking the parts. One year we had 3 baby Jesus'! Kevin Ripley was our first baby Jesus and today he is a Priest and he had Mass for us. We end up with a birthday cake for Jesus. We are blessed!

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