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Whilst reading through various articles on Christmas, I was struck by how the focus seems to be mainly on eating, drinking, giving presents and having a jolly good time. Then I found a partial quote which gladdened my heart, but I can't trace the source although it is dated around the start of the 20th century.

It focuses on Mary and Joseph trying to find a place to lodge. They are turned away by many people but one humble shepherd invites them into his hovel. This is what he offers the weary travelers:

I offer you my heart; my soul is poor and bare of virtues, the traws of so many imperfections will prick you and make you weep - but oh, my Lord, what can you expect? This little is all I have. I am touched by your poverty, I am moved to tears, but I havw nothing betterto offer you.

Jesus, honour my soul with your presence, adorn it with your graces. Burn this straw and change it into a soft couch for your most holy body.

Jesus, I am here waiting for your coming. Wicked men have driven you out, and the wind is like ice. I am a poor man, but I will warm you as well as I can. At least e pleased that I wish to welcome you warmly, to love you and sacrifice myself for you.

Oh, but that more people would adopt this frame of mind at this time of year! Anyway, I am hoping someone can give me the source of this partial quote written some 123 years ago.

It would also be nice if contributors could add any similar Christmas thoughts - something to uplift us. I do so hope this is allowed on CSE?

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    Related: google.com/books/edition/Journal_of_a_Soul/… Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 0:38
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    If you want to put a "Christmas Thoughts" post on meta, I think that'd be awesome!
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 4:05
  • @PeterTurner - duly done, but I just hope Meta doesn't invoke the rule that answers should be supported by facts, references, or expertise, and not solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. Perhaps you could look at my tags? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/395339/…
    – Lesley
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 10:06
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    @Lesley oooooh I'm sorry to have subjected you to that crowd! I meant our meta christianity.meta.stackexchange.com
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 14:09
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    @PeterTurner - Serves me right for being so bold as to post that sort of question on the main Meta site. I'm still laughing at some of the comments. Regardless, I will now post the same question on the Christianity Meta site, and see if we get a more sympathetic response.
    – Lesley
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 14:56

1 Answer 1

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A Christmas Meditation

Here follows a little more complete version of the text for your meditation:

Night has fallen; the clear, bright stars are sparkling in the cold air; noisy, strident voices rise to my ear from the city, voices of the revellers of this world who celebrate with merrymaking the poverty of their Saviour. Around me in their rooms my companions are asleep, and I am still wakeful, thinking of the mystery of Bethlehem.

Come, come, Jesus, I await you.

Mary and Joseph, knowing the hour is near, are turned away by the townsfolk and go out into the fields to look for a shelter. I am a poor shepherd; I have only a wretched stable, a small manger, some wisps of straw. I offer all these to you, be pleased to come into my poor hovel. I offer you my heart; my soul is poor and bare of virtues, the straws of so many imperfections will prick you and make you weep -- but oh, my Lord, what can you expect? This little is all I have. I am touched by your poverty. I am moved to tears, but I have nothing better to offer you. Jesus, honour my soul with your presence, adorn it with your graces. Burn this straw and change it into a soft couch for your most holy body.

Jesus, I am here waiting for your coming. Wicked men have driven you out, and the wind is like ice. I am a poor man, but I will warm you as well as I can. At least be pleased that I wish to welcome you warmly, to love you and sacrifice myself for you.

These words were written down in 1902, by the then young Italian named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli who was studying for the priesthood in Rome. Today the world knows him as Pope John XXIII.

He wrote these words studying for the priesthood in Rome. Two years later he graduated as a doctor in theology and was ordained.

In the Catholic Church at this time in history, Advent had a more penitential atmosphere about it and would be looked on as a little more like Lent in some regards.

Fasting was done in Advent, on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as the Ember Days Fast. Of course, Christmas Eve was also a day of fasting.

All this said the Church, in Advent retain it’s anticipated joy knowing the Christ was soon to be born. As such, it was commonplace for the faithful to sing Christmas Carols in Advent. The carolling actually carried on into the Christmas Season for the full 40 days.

How many of us can recall seeing Scrooge taking offence of the poor singing Christmas Carols on Christmas Eve in the now classic movie or novel of A Christmas Carol.

As you can see the entire spirit of preparing for the birth of Jesus had an entirely different mode back then.

Even so food still had it’s tradition place in Advent, albeit the the festive mood as not really there.

The Ember Day Tart has it’s place since the Middle Ages.

The Wigilia supper was traditional in some countries on Christmas Eve as meat was not allowed until after Christmas Mass. The anticipated masses as we understand them today, did not exist back then.

A Christmas Eve dinner excludes meat, as abstinence is required, and should comprise twelve distinct dishes in memory of the twelve Apostles. It begins with a soup, either borscht with uszka (tortellini), or wild mushroom consommé (grzybowa), followed by herring in different forms. Fish provides the main dish of the Christmas Eve feast across Poland. There are variations of carp fillet, carp in aspic, gefilte fish (Jewish-style carp), sweet with onions, carrots, almonds and raisins. Accompaniments consist of cabbage, cooked red or sauerkraut with apple salad. The bread served at the meal is often challah, doubtless borrowed from Poland's centuries-long Jewish fellow countrymen. Then there is an array of desserts, including dried fruit compote, followed by cake: poppy seed cakes, babka, makowiec, and other sweets including edible Christmas ornaments. Regional variants include żurek sour rye soup, siemieniotka (in Silesia), pierogi filled with cheese and potatoes as well mushrooms and cabbage, stuffed cabbage with mushrooms and rice, gołąbki (cabbage rolls), kluski with poppyseed, and makówki (in Silesia). There is in places a belief that whatever happens on Wigilia affects the incoming year; if a quarrel should arise, it foretells a quarrelsome and troublesome year.

As for myself I see that we have lost something in our spiritual life by not being more connected to Jesus in the crib. The babe that was laid in a manger was born to be crucified for our redemption. Some ancient author’s point out that the wood of Christ’s manger foreshadowed Jesus’ Cross!

During Advent the Church celebrates Jesus’ first, second and third coming into the world.

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