The Church has countless options for personal devotions for the season of Advent, and while few of them are official, there are some that are popular because of the way they speak to the hearts of the faithful. One of my favorites is setting up the nativity scene without the baby Jesus in manger until Christmas eve mass. In my latest post at Austin CNM, I reflect on what this has meant to me, and how it connected with me when I saw the reliquary of the manger of Jesus that is now in Rome.
When I first saw the golden covered reliquary, I was instantly reminded of my memories of the empty managers I had seen during Advent throughout my life. Even to this day, it speaks to my heart and vividly reminds me that we are awaiting the coming of the King. Now that He has already laid His head upon the hay of the manger, we await in confident hope for His glorious return.
St. Francis of Assisi is attributed with beginning the tradition of the Christmas Creche, but the first one was a living nativity scene. Now it has grown to be popular across the world, even to the point where Protestant Christians that accuse us of idolatry, put down the arguments against images and bring out their own nativity scenes. There’s just something that is undeniably moving about the image for all people.
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