In the 1200s, a holy man by the name Francis made a daring discovery. He found that by recreating the Biblical scene of the birth of Jesus Christ (who he lovingly referred to as ‘ the babe of Bethlehem’), he was able to help others around him to come to a greater appreciation of the miracle that had taken place so many years before.
In short, Francis in his own saintly way and through his own saintly sources, had intuited that people come more readily to the Faith when we give them what Cardinal Newman would call, an opportunity for real assent (as opposed to notional assent).
What this means is that telling someone about the holiness of Christmas will never be as powerful; it will never be as transformative as when they actually encounter a holy scene of Christmas in front of them. And the creche, the beautiful scene that re-presents the precious moments in Bethlehem two thousand years ago was and still is an effort to bring the memory of that miracle back to reality.
But notice, in our time the very people who need that image so desperately are not the ones who own the miniatures that are placed among our decorations. No, the people who most need to see the miracle of Christmas are often far from any hearth that sings oh silent night. So what can we do?
I think St. Francis would say, ‘show them.’ Show them what a holy family looks like, and be a living creche that points unmistakably to the hope and mercy that flows from the manger of Bethlehem.
So do that will you. Because the world is forgetting what Christmas is really about, and they need someone to remind them.
If publishing article online please attribute source Serviam Ministries with link to original article.