Reflections 25th December 2019

A Reflection for Christmas Day

Mt. 1: 1-25 ( )

This year in my home parish we are having an exhibition of cribs, Cribs from all around the world.  Along with many other people, I am looking forward to it.  The build-up to this experience is a reminder that cribs are integral to the family Christmas experience. The variety of Christmas cribs offers various understandings of Jesus’ family at the time of His birth.

The first crib is credited to St. Francis of Assisi. He wanted to give people a visible look at the context of Jesus’ birth. It was his wish that the crib would give all people, especially those in poverty, the story of Mary, Joseph, the angels and the shepherds and the wise travelers.  He wanted people on the margins of society to know that Jesus’ start to life was one of solidarity with them.  Later, this crib tradition grew to include different people, offering an image of the Church community.  The crib today can be found in the church, the school, the local square, the supermarket, the shop-front and the family home.

Some cribs today include figures of people of different colours, races and religions. All are welcome to the crib. There is no door that we must open to enter. The crib brings Jesus among us. 

As one person put it to me, “Various groups have been harshly judged over the years, but the community of Jesus Christ welcomes all of every race, age, gender.  Saint and sinner are welcomed, and all the in-betweens are welcomed, as different people were welcomed.”

At Christmas Eve, I’m reminded that the Church can welcome everyone. Unfortunately, for many reasons, some feel unwelcomed. However, at Christmas our memories can help people recall our friendship with God. Like all pilgrims including the wise men, the shepherds and all visitors to the manger, we go home a bit different, full of a new joy.

A very happy Christmas to all.

Ronan Barry – Ronan works as the Spiritan Identity, Faith & Mission Officer in the Spiritan Education Trust. His areas of involvement include engagement with boards of management, senior school management teams and lead teachers in ethos-development, global citizenship education, pastoral care, religious education and sacramental preparation.