Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas is for the birds

by Betsy Cannon

Christmas day is rapidly approaching.  Soon I will visit close friends and family, light the Christ candle on the Advent wreath, and attend my church's candlelight service.  These traditions are central to my celebration of Christmas.

Recently, I learned of St. Francis’s Christmas traditions.  Around 1220, the patron saint of animals was the first to present a living crèche with donkeys, cows, and sheep.  He wanted people experience Christmas as it truly was—in a stable surrounded by a menagerie of farm animals.

Then, on Christmas day, St. Francis believed that all creatures should be included in the celebration. He scattered birdseed, so the larks wouldn’t need to forage but could also join in the feast.

If I could see the Emperor, I would implore him to issue a general decree that all people who are able to do so, shall throw grain and corn upon the streets, so that on this great feast day the birds might have enough to eat, especially our sisters, the larks.

May we, like St. Francis, include the whole of creation in our Christmas festivities this year.

Merry Christmas from Earth Ministry!  Peace and joy to all!