“The manger was prepared, the hay had been brought, the ox and ass were led in. There simplicity was honored, poverty was exalted, humility was commended, and Greccio was made, as it were, a new Bethlehem. The night was lighted up like the day, and it delighted men and beasts. The people came and were filled with new joy over the new mystery. The woods rang with the voices of the crowd and the rocks made answer to their jubilation.” Francis combined love for Christ’s crib, Christ’s cross, and the Eucharist in a way that attracted even people whose faith was lukewarm. Christmas is celebrated year-round at Greccio. The crib that Francis made there emphasized the great love and humility of the Son of God in becoming one of us so that we might share divine life. Amid the rush to prepare for Christmas, take time to thank God for the tremendous gift of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem.
— from the book Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of Assisi