Merciful Jesus, You come to us as a little Child, the long awaited Christ of Whom the Prophets spoke and who foretold Your coming as ‘Emmanuel’ – ‘God With Us’. I think about Your coming, O Lord, as I gaze upon the Manger of Bethlehem.

O Divine Messiah, You are born in exile, amongst people far from home and family and loved ones. Today, so many hearts are exiled in various ways, and have no place and nothing to call their own; grant, O Lord, that these souls may find a place of rest in You, for You are our Way, and in You we find all that we need.

Majestic Lord, You are the Son of the Most High, and yet You come to us in perfect humility, assuming our humanity for love of us and being born as a little Child in the town of Bethlehem, which means ‘the House of Bread’; Your manger, O Lord, is a feeding trough and You are placed within it like Divine Food – You are our sustenance, our daily Bread, and this is a foretaste, O Lord, of the heavenly banquet to which You invite us.

Holy Lord, Son of God, You are born of Mary, the pure and simple Handmaid – She whose spirit rejoices in God, whose only desire is that it be done to Her according to the will of God the Father. Her Immaculate Heart desired Your coming and it was in the fragrant garden of that Heart that Her consent to the Heavenly Father was given. Now, O Lord, She stands so close to this manger, gazing with love upon You, Her Divine Son. She is the first to look upon Your holy countenance – Her own face illuminated by Your heavenly light, as the Moon shines with the light of the Sun. She is the Mirror of Your own infinite beauty.

I see the wood of the manger, O Saving Lord, and my heart is wrenched at the thought of the Passion and Death which You will later undergo for love of me, upon the Cross on Golgotha. There, too, the Holy Virgin will stand close by, filled with faith and still consenting to the inscrutable plan of the Father for the salvation of all the world.

The swaddling clothes that wrap You and keep You warm are thin strips of cloth, borrowed, like the manger itself. Contemplating the poverty of these, O Gate of Heaven, I am mindful that my heart is for You alone – no created thing must ever come between You and I, nor keep me from You. My soul longs only for You, My Jesus; only You can fill it and give it peace. All things pass, O Lord, except You alone.

Within the manger, Merciful Redeemer, I see straw. And this reminds me of my human frailty and weakness, my sinfulness and my utter nothingness before You, O Creator of the Universe. I am less than straw in the midst of it all, with nothing to claim as my own good, for only misery is in my hands. And yet, O Lord, You love me with an infinite love, a love which will nail You to the Tree of Life that I might be saved. Such is Your goodness. Cast me like straw into the blazing fire of Your divine love.

King of Heaven, as I gaze upon Your holy manger, touch and sanctify my heart; fill it with Your divine grace and give me Your own peace, which is beyond all human understanding.

And give me Your own Mother, my Lord, that She may keep and protect me, guide and lead me, pray and intercede for me in all my needs, and bring me to You ever more perfectly. I ask Her, O Lord, to ready my heart and to prepare it so that, like this little manger, it may be a worthy place in which She can lay You down, and where You will find happy repose.

© MostMercifulJesus 2018