On Decorations and Devotions

By: Deacon Marques Silva

With the celebration of the Baptism of Our Lord, the Christmas season comes to a close. Christmas trees and lights will come down and ornaments and lights will be stowed away for a long winter’s nap (or is that a winter through fall nap?). That being said, maybe there is one item we might consider keeping out of its box this year.

The mystery of the incarnation is central to the Christmas season and, I would even suggest, that it is central to history. Even in theology, it is central:

“The chief purpose of theology is to provide an understanding of revelation and the content of faith. The very heart of theological inquiry will thus be the contemplation of the mystery of the Triune God. The approach to this mystery begins with reflection upon the mystery of the Incarnation” (Fides et Ratio, n. 93). [My emphasis.]

Until the Annunciation and then the Nativity, neither human nor angelic being had ever conceived that the plan of redemption would be accomplished by God becoming man. Literally, eternity stepped into time. That is mind-blowing.

Mother Angelica in her book, The Prayers & Personal Devotions of Mother Angelica, wrote:

“The Angels must have been absolutely floored because they knew that God had a right to determine the circumstances of his coming—but the details were unknown to them. Never in a million years would they have imagined not only that He would become man, but that God would be so lowly a man—born in a stable. The Angels knew His Grandeur, His Majesty, His Awesomeness, His Power. His Humility and Simplicity is something they and the entire world did not expect.


CrécheThat is why my family keeps up a crèche all-year-round. To remind us not only that God became man but that He chose to become a weak, lowly, and helpless form of a man – a baby. This simple display is a constant reminder that simplicity and childlikeness is how we need to approach the Lord since that is how He approached us.

So, many thanks to St. Francis of Assisi who is credited with the first crèche in the year 1223 at a cave in Grecio, Italy. And as we leave Christmastime, maybe to keep the importance of the Incarnation at the forefront of our minds this year, we could find a safe place and display the symbol of his love in the crèche.

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