Welcome To The Religion Network!
I'm Lisa Bowman, editor of The Religion Network, a multi-faith Web site. This site provides inspirational quotes through an
exploration of a new spiritual theme every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Religion network is offered with the
conviction that inspiration can be found in all spiritual faiths, and furthermore, that finding the commonalities
among the world's religions is more healing than pointing up their differences.
Religion as an institution is a precious gift, blessing individuals and uplifting communities. However you choose to
worship, I hope this site enhances your journey. If you'd like to know my story, click on biography.
ON TODAY'S SITE:
Christmas poem based on 1st Corinthians:13, The Story of St. Francis & the Nativity
1 Corinthians:13..... A Christmas Version
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling
lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family,
I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table
at mealtime, but do not show love to my family,
I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all
that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted
snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s
cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the
decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and
tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated
Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful
they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who
are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures
all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces
will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.
International speaker, Bible teacher & author
The Story of the First Nativity Scene:
On the night of December 24, 1223, a group of barefoot
monks led local residents through the snow up Mount
Lacerone to the small, almost primitive monastery of
Greccio, located about 60 miles east of Rome.
There in a small cave on the mountain, Il Poverello,
the humble friar that we know as St. Francis, had
created a magical scene: The birth of the Baby Jesus
He had placed straw on the stone and beaten earth floor.
A crudely-made manger was nestled in the corner of the
cave. About a dozen local peasants stood in tableau,
acting as Mary and Joseph and the shepherds keeping watch.
Francis had even included an ox and a donkey in the torch-
illumined scene. All night long villagers shivered
in the cold, waiting for their turn to stand
in awe before the blessed re-creation.
St. Francis died three years later, meaning this great
gift to the world was also one of his final gifts.
The following is excerpted from "St. Francis of Assisi: A Biography," by Omer Englebrecht
It is from Thomas of Celano's Vita Prima that we shall paraphrase the account of the feast.
It is almost contemporary, for he wrote it only four or five years afterward.
The people of the country had joined with the friars of the surrounding hermitages, bearing
torches and candles to lighten the darkness of this night which, like a star, has shone for
centuries and will shine forever. Winding up the mountain, the procession wended its way
toward the spot where -- between a great ox and a little donkey -- the Crib was set up.
Under the great trees it was as light as day, and from rock to rock the echo reverberated
of the chanting of the friars, mingled with the pious refrains of the crowd.
Standing before the Crib, torn with compassion and filled with unspeakable joy,
the Poverello, sighing deeply, awaited them. The Mass commenced, at an altar
placed in an overhanging niche. Never, the celebrant himself confessed, had he
experienced such consolation while offering the Holy Sacrifice.
Vested in the dalmatic,*Francis assisted as deacon. At the proper moment, he
intoned the Gospel in a sonorous voice; then he preached a sermon to proclaim
the joys of Heaven to those men of good will who had flocked to his appeal.
In words honey-sweet he spoke of the poor King who twelve centuries before,
on such a night, was born in the little town of Bethlehem, calling him either
"Jesus" or the "Babe of Bethlehem," and pronouncing the word "Bethlehem like
a bleating lamb. And whenever one of these divine names occurred in his sermon,
he would pass his tongue over his lips that he might longer taste their sweetness.
Thus it was a night marvellous above all other nights; and we must not be surprised
that God afterward wished to shower down His blessings upon his blessed spot.
Many sick folk recovered their health here and even domestic animals who ate
a few stalks of hay from the Crib were cured. For it is true that on this hay the
the Saviour of the world had miraculously rested. John Velita** in fact reported
that he saw the little Jesus asleep on it, and that there was a moment when the
Divine Infant awakened, opened His eyes, and smiled at St. Francis.
*The dalmatic is the outer liturgical vestment of a deacon.
In Italy it is a robe with wide sleeves that falls to the knees in length.
**John Velita was a friend of St. Francis' and the Lord of Greccio.
He owned the steep hill on which the Nativity was reenacted on
Christmas Eve of 1223. The ritual continues to be celebrated.
The Last Word:
When we were children we were grateful to those
who filled our stockings at Christmas time.
Why are we not grateful to God for
filling our stockings with legs?
G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
English born Critic, Essayist, Novelist and Poet
Totally Random Bonus Quote:
Whatever you have in your mind - forget it;
whatever you have in your hand - give it;
whatever is to be your fate - face it!
Abu Sa'id (d. 1049)