I just read an account of part of the life of St. Francis of Assisi who was known for his simple life and itinerant preaching. What I didn’t know was that on December 24th 1223, Francis found a cave near Greccio, Italy and brought in animals traditionally associated with the birth of Christ. He built a crib, arranged the hay and finished the scene.
Crowds gathered full of curiosity and wonder and there Francis preached the wonder of God made human, born a humble infant and laid in a manger. “Behold your God” he said, “a poor and helpless child, the ox and donkey beside him. Your God is of your flesh.”
That evening, the people of Greccio learned the real meaning of the word CHRISTmas.