The birth of the Infant Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem.
Since the Roman emperor’s edict said that everyone was to enroll in his own country, Joseph and his wife, Mary, departed for Bethlehem. The trip took four days, traveling over mountainous roads in the cold of winter wind and rain. Think of how much the Blessed Virgin must have suffered on that journey.
As soon as they arrived, the time of her delivery was at hand, so Joseph went around the town looking for lodging where Mary could give birth to her child. But, because they were poor, they were driven away by everyone, even from the inn where poor people were normally sheltered. So they left the town and found a cave. As Mary entered, Joseph protested, saying, “My dear wife, how can you spend the night in this cold, damp place? Can’t you see that this is a stable for animals?” But she answered, “Joseph, this shed is the royal palace where the Son of God chooses to be born.”
And since the time for the birth had arrived, the Holy Virgin was in prayer. Suddenly the cave became brilliantly lit, as if by the sun or a star, and the Son of God came forth into the world as a tender infant, crying and trembling with cold. The first thing Mary did was to adore him as her God. Then she held him to her bosom, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes that she had brought along. Finally, she laid him on a little straw in the manger.
That is how the Son of the eternal God chose to be born for love of us.
A saint once said that those who love Jesus Christ most ought to kneel at the feet of the Holy Child and, in spirit, perform for him the same service as the beasts in the stable at Bethlehem who warmed him with their breath. We should warm him with our sighs of love.
Affections and Prayers
O tiny Infant! I would not be so bold as to lie at your feet, except that you yourself have invited me to come near. My sins have caused you to cry so many tears while in your stable at Bethlehem. But since you have come to earth to forgive repentant sinners, please forgive me, also. I regret with all my heart having ignored you so often.
You give so many great graces to everyone on this holy night. Bring peace to my soul and to the world. The one gift I ask this Christmas is the grace to love you forever with my whole heart. Inflame me, Lord, with your love!
I do love you, O God, who has become a mere child for me. Never let me stop loving you.
Mary, my mother, God will do all things you ask in prayer. Pray to Jesus for me.