As many of you probably know, St. Francis is credited with creating the first Nativity Scene during a Christmas Eve Mass.
In 1223, he staged a live recreation of Luke's account in Greccio, Italy, to help tell the story of our Savior - and to remind people that their focus at Christmas should be on the birth of Christ, not the materialism of the world.
(It is said that that scene was so blessed, that when the cattle ate the hay St. Francis used as a prop, they were cured of all their diseases!)
The other day I came across St. Bonaventure's version of that wondrous event and was moved by the following line:
"The Man of God [St. Francis] stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant in joy..."
And that got me thinking ... how many times do I stand before a Nativity scene with that much emotion? Do I treat each scene that I encounter with the reverence Christ's birth deserves? Or do I treat them as just another Christmas decoration?
I pray that, during this Advent season, all of us feel the same awe and joy that St. Francis did that night. God Bless you.