An Advent Tradition
by Kristine Cranley
Advent is a time of expectant waiting. It is a time of asking the Lord to prepare our hearts to receive Christ anew this Christmas. We sit in silence with our Lady, pregnant with the silent Word, and ask the Lord Jesus to speak to us in the silence. We pray that He may ready us so that He can be born into our hearts in a new way this Christmas.
There is a beautiful Advent tradition that speaks so profoundly of the focus of this joyful season. In it you set out an empty cradle (either the one from your manger scene or a homemade one) in which you will lay an image of the Christ Child on Christmas day. Near to this empty cradle, place a supply of straw or grass.
Then throughout the season of Advent, make various acts of love for Jesus. They can be physical acts such as feeding the hungry, speaking kindly to someone, participating in an Advent giving tree, writing someone in prison, etc. Or they can be spiritual acts such as setting aside time in your day to read the scriptures, or praying for those in need, or thanking Jesus for all His blessings in your life. Every time you perform one of these acts of love, place a piece of straw in His cradle.
When Christmas day comes, our tiny Lord will have a warm bed to rest in, prepared for Him by your acts of love. And reigning in Heaven, His Sacred Heart will be truly warmed by the bed of love you have provided Him. What better birthday gift could we bring for the birth of Love Himself?