A Spiritual Christmas Crib**
These directions show you how to build a spiritual crib in your heart for Christ. Use it to put Christ into your Christmas in a real, living way.
Start on December 1. Read the thought indicated about Christ's first crib.
Practice it during the day.
Do this daily during December and make your heart a worthy crib for Christ on Christmas Day.
DEC. 1 - THE STABLE
Frequently during the day offer your heart to the little Infant Jesus. Ask Him to make it His home.
--Sweet Jesus, take my heart and make it meek and pure.
DEC. 2 - THE ROOF
See that the roof of the stable is in good condition, so that the Infant Jesus is protected from rain and snow. This you will do by carefully avoiding every uncharitable remark.
--Jesus, teach me to love my neighbor as myself.
DEC. 3 - CREVICES
Carefully stop every crevice in the walls of the stable, so that the wind and cold may not enter there. Guard your senses against temptations. Guard especially your ears against sinful conversations.
--Jesus, help me to keep temptations out of my heart.
DEC. 4 - COBWEBS
Clean the cobwebs from your spiritual crib. Diligently remove from your heart every inordinate desire of being praised. Renew this intention at least three times today.
--My Jesus, I want to please You in all I do today.
DEC. 5 - FENCE
Build a fence about the crib of your heart by keeping a strict watch over your eyes, especially at prayer.
--Sweet Jesus, I long to see You.
DEC. 6 - MANGER
Fix the best and warmest corner of your heart for the manger of Jesus. You will do so by abstaining from what you like most in the line of comfort and amusement.
--Dear Mother Mary, use these sacrifices to prepare my heart for Jesus in Holy Communion.
DEC. 7 - HAY
Supply the manger of your heart with hay, by overcoming all feelings of pride, anger or envy.
--Jesus, teach me to know and correct my greatest sins.
DEC. 8 - SOFT STRAW
Also provide your manger with soft straw by performing little acts of mortification; for instance, bear the cold without complaints; or sit and stand erect.
--Dear Jesus, Who suffered so much for me, let me suffer for love of You.
DEC. 9 - SWADDLING CLOTHES
Prepare these for the Divine Infant by folding your hands when you pray, and praying slowly and thoughtfully.
--Jesus, help me love you more and more.
DEC. 10 - BLANKETS
Provide the manger of your crib with soft warm blankets. Avoid harsh and angry words; be kind and gentle to all.
--Jesus, help me to be meek and humble like You.
DEC. 11 - FUEL
Bring fuel to the crib of Jesus. Give up your own will; obey your superiors cheerfully and promptly.
--Jesus, help me do Your will in all things.
DEC. 12 - WATER
Bring fresh, clean water to the crib. Avoid every untruthful word and every deceitful act.
--Dearest Mary, obtain for me true contrition for my sins.
DEC. 13 - PROVISIONS
Bring a supply of food to the crib. Deprive yourself of some food at mealtime or candy as a treat.
--Jesus, be my strength and nourishment.
DEC. 14 - LIGHT
See that the crib has sufficient light. Be neat and orderly about your person; keep everything in its place in your room.
--Jesus, be the life and light of my soul.
DEC. 15 - FIRE
Take care to have the crib of your heart warmed by a cozy fire. Be grateful to God for the love He has shown us in becoming man; behave with grateful respect towards your parents and relatives.
--Jesus, how can I return Your love; how can I show my gratitude to You?
DEC. 16 - THE OX
Lead the ox to the crib. Obey cheerfully without making excuses and without asking "why."
--I will obey for love of You, Jesus.
DEC. 17 - THE DONKEY
Bring the donkey to the crib. Offer to the Divine Infant your bodily strength; use it in the service of others.
--Jesus, accept my service of love; I offer it for those who do not love You.
DEC. 18 - GIFTS
Gather some presents for the Divine Infant and His Blessed Mother. Give alms for the poor and say an extra decade of the rosary.
--Come, Jesus, to accept my gifts and to take possession of my heart.
DEC. 19 - LAMBS
Strive to bring some little lambs, meek and patient. Do not murmur or complain.
--Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
DEC. 20 - SHEPHERDS
Invite the shepherds to pay homage to our newborn King. Imitate their watchfulness; stress in your speech and thoughts the idea that Christmas is important because Jesus will be born again in you.
--Jesus, teach me to love You above all things.
DEC. 21 - THE KEY
Provide the stable with a key to keep out thieves. Exclude from your heart every sinful thought, every rash judgment.
-- Dear Jesus, close my heart to all that hurts You.
DEC. 22 - ANGELS
Invite the angels to adore God with you. Cheerfully obey the inspirations of your guardian angel and of your conscience.
--Holy Guardian Angel, never let me forget that you are with me always.
DEC. 23 - ST. JOSEPH
Accompany Saint Joseph from door to door. Learn from him silently and patiently to bear refusals and disappointments. Open wide your heart and beg him to enter with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
--Saint Joseph, help me to prepare for a worthy Christmas Communion.
DEC. 24 - THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Go meet your Blessed Mother. Lead her to the manger of your heart and beg her to lay the Divine Infant in it. Shorten your chats and telephone conversations and spend more timetoday thinking of Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
--Come, dear Jesus, Come; my heart belongs to You."
**From: Devotions in Preparation for the Coming of the Christchild, and at the Crib, from Christmas to Purification" by Rev. Frederic Nelson, published by Marian House, Powers Lake, ND 58773
*** Christmas Crib prayers reprinted from AWTY, 2008
*** Christmas Crib prayers reprinted from AWTY, 2008