Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Gifts of Advent Day 27: Open Wide the Doors


In the Child of Bethlehem, God comes to meet us and make us active sharers in the life around us. He offers himself to us, so that we can take him into our arms, lift him and embrace him…. In this Child, God invites us to be messengers of hope. He invites us to become sentinels for all those bowed down by the despair born of encountering so many closed doors. In this child, God makes us agents of his hospitality.
—Pope Francis, Homily on the Nativity, December 24, 2017


The simple yet profound mystery of the Incarnation is this: The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Scripture scholars tell us that this phrase in John’s Gospel literally translates as “pitched his tent” with his people. Like God’s presence in the Ark of the Covenant, as the Chosen People traveled through the desert, so now God would come to earth as a vulnerable but graced infant, getting the same start in life that each and every one of us has.

Our God wants to be with us wherever we are. No dwelling is too lowly, no circumstances too humble. St. Francis recognized this when he created the first live nativity scene at Greccio: a cave, some animals, a deep faith in God’s promise. And tradition tells us that he held the baby in his arms during the Mass.

We probably celebrate hospitality more at Christmas than we do at any other time of the year. We host parties, we attend parties, we revel in food and drink and presents. We also open not only our hearts but our wallets to those in need. It’s a blessing to be able to do this. Maybe this is the year that we decide to carry this spirit of hospitality forward into the rest of the year, to become God’s sentinels of hope.

God comes into our lives, into our homes, into our world every day in many different disguises. Pope Francis reminds us that Christmas calls us to be on the lookout for this manifestation of the divine. And if God wants to dwell with us, we better be willing to open our doors to him.


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Take a Deep Breath

“Breathe in the vast spirit of Christmas today and throughout the Christmas season. Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!” (St. John Paul II)

A Simple Gift

Celebrate well with your family and friends. Share what you’ve discovered about yourself during this Advent season. Let them see the changes God has brought about in your life. If we’ve been changed by Advent this year, we will be ready to move out of ourselves once more and reach out to others.



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