The Star of the East danced into the sanctuary with delight, accompanied by the beat of the ancient drums. Angels, shepherds, elaborate kings, shepherds and their creatures all came to the pageant to tell the story of the birth of Jesus. The goats (yes, real live goats) were a real hit!
Did you know that St. Francis is credited with beginning the tradition of live nativity scenes in 1223 in the little town of Grecio? There were too many people to have midnight mass in their little church, so he had the people become the story outside in a little rock niche near the town square. It is said that here was observed one of the saint’s great miracles and the living, breathing Christ child appeared in the manger that night.
Whatever happened that night in little Grecio, it became a theme of St. Francis to affirm that God always wanted to become incarnate, to be up close and personal with real humanity, with all its suffering and joy. That was the deep desire expressed in creation and ever since! God’s greatest wish was fulfilled at Christmas, when God and humanity were forever joined.
Such is the beauty of Christmas. That God is still being born among us – within us and through us – bringing love, peace and joy into the world.