St. Francis loved scripture; he read it, listened to it, devoured it. He stuffed it into his heart and lived it.
One of Francis’ favourite scripture stories was a story we all know very well, of the Incarnation. The story of the birth of Jesus.
A little child
St. Francis loved to think about the poor child in the manger. He was amazed that God who is so BIG was willing to become like a LITTLE child. God wanted to do this because He loves us so much.
Here’s a little bit of the story for you to read.
Before you start reading ask the Holy Spirit to help you to read it.
Have you ever heard anyone say, I was speaking to someone but it was going in through one ear and straight out the other ear?
Well, the Holy Spirit helps us to hear the stories of Jesus by opening our ears and our hearts so that it stays inside us. Isn’t that wonderful?
Bits of Chapter 2 of The Gospel of St Luke
While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn't any room for them in the inn.
Poor babies at this time were wrapped in bands of cloth so their bones grew strong and straight.
Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. Angel An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. Today your Saviour, Christ the Lord, was born in David's city.
Then a whole army of angels started singing!
Can you sing like an angel????????? Have a go!!!!!!!!!!! LISTEN HERE Glory to God 4 Bethlehem
The shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about." They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in a manger. Praise As the shepherds returned to their flock, they glorified and praised God for everything they had seen and heard.
Let’s think about this story like St Francis. Let us be like the shepherds and go and have a peek at Jesus.
• What is Jesus doing?
• Is he awake or asleep?
• Is he looking at you?
• What expression is on his face?
• What is your favourite line or word in the story?
There are lots to choose from:
Do not be afraid. Let’s go to Bethlehem.
Try to remember your line or word all day.
Does it make a difference to your day?
After the shepherds had seen Jesus, they returned to their sheep, praising God for all they had seen and heard.
• What have you heard and seen today that you would like to praise God for? Perhaps you could do this everyday.
Advent and Christmas are very special times for Poor Clares. Poor Clares love Christmas. Advent is the first season of the church year, it includes the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. During the last couple of weeks of Advent the sisters make cribs around the house for Jesus.
The first Crib
St Francis started the tradition of building cribs.
The first Crib
One of Francis’ most important aims in life was to carry out the Gospel in his own life with as much enthusiasm and energy as possible. He wanted to follow the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. St Francis loved to meditate on the birth of Christ, he didn’t want to think of anything else but Jesus. His mind and heart were full to bursting with Jesus.
Christmas at Greccio
On the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, near the little town called Greccio, this is what he did.
A man called John
In that place was a man called John, who lived a holy life and whom Francis loved very much. Francis sent for John about 15 days before Christmas. He told John that if they were to celebrate the feast of Christmas then he would have to hurry up and go to Greccio to prepare for it. He told John he wanted to do something very special to remember the little Child who was born in Bethlehem, to remember in some way the inconveniences of his birth, how he lay in a manger, with an ox and an ass standing by. So John rushed off and prepared all the things Francis had told him.
On the day, the time of great rejoicing, the brothers were called from different places. Men and women in the neighbourhood prepared candles and torches to light up the night. Saint Francis came and saw that the manger was prepared, the hay had been brought and the ox and the ass were led in.
The new Bethlehem
Greccio was made into a new Bethlehem. The people came and were filled with new joy. The night was lighted up like the day. The woods rang with the voices of the crowd. St Francis stood before the manger, overcome with love and filled with a wonderful happiness. The priest said Mass for the people. Francis clothed in his vestments as a deacon preached to the people, he spoke about the poor King and the little town of Bethlehem.
Ty Mam Duw’s crib
At Ty Mam Duw we build a crib in the Choir (Chapel). The YouTube below shows some of it.
Claresite Christmas crib
We also build cribs around the house.
Here’s one a sister made a few years ago.
The sister made the crib like a
Church in the Philippines. Here
you can see the tower of the church
and the manger.
Below you can see the palm trees in the top picture and the people coming to the Church in the middle picture. In the bottom picture are the Kings are bringing their gifts. This crib took up the space of a whole room. Baby Jesus always gets the best at Ty Mam Duw.
Would you like to make your own Crib? Click here to see how.