Be A Manger

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From the poetry of Susan Stabile...

This Christmas I pray for you that you will be a manger.

I pray that you will be empty—
Empty of all the clutter and distraction of life,
Empty to receive the newborn Christ.

I pray that you will be sturdy—
Sturdy to bear your personal and secret burdens,
Sturdy to bear the presence of God within.

I pray that you will be soft inside—
Soft inside for the healing embrace of yourself & others,
Soft inside to give God a place in peace.

I pray that you will be still—
Still to attend to the cry of the poor
Still to attend to the whisper of God’s prompting voice.

I pray that you will be ready—
Ready to receive whatever God’s gifts for you,
Ready to use your gifts for whatever God’s call to you.

This Christmas I pray for you—
That you will be a manger.

How to be a manger, that lowly place that first welcomed Jesus?

Be empty.
Be sturdy.
Be soft inside.
Be still.
Be ready.

Or, to paraphrase St. Francis de Sales: Be gentle and strong.

Merry Christmas!