Taken from Padre Pio’s hand written notebook. Translation from Italian by Frank M. Rega December 2005 http://www.sanpadrepio.com/PadrePioChristmas.htm
“Far into the night at the coldest time of the year, in a chilly grotto, more suitable for a flock of beasts than for humans, the promised Messiah, Jesus the Saviour of mankind, comes into the world in the fullness of time.
There are none who clamor around him: only an ox and an ass lending their warmth to the newborn infant; with a humble woman, and a poor and tired man, in adoration beside him.
Nothing can be heard except the sobs and whimpers of the infant God, And by means of His crying and weeping he offers to the Divine justice the first ransom for our redemption
He had been expected for forty centuries. With longing sighs the ancient Fathers had implored His arrival. The sacred scriptures clearly prophesy the time and the place of His birth, and yet the world is silent and no one seems aware of the great event. Only some shepherds who had been busy watching over their sheep in the meadows, came to visit Him. Heavenly visitors had alerted them to the wondrous event, inviting them to approach His cave.
So plentiful, O Christians are the lessons that shine forth from the grotto of Bethlehem! Oh how our hearts should be on fire with love for the one who with such tenderness was made flesh for our sake. Oh how we should burn with desire to lead the whole world to this lowly cave, refuge of the King of Kings, greater than any worldly palace, because it is the throne and dwelling place of God. Let us ask this Divine child to clothe us with humility, because only be means of this virtue can we taste the fullness of this mystery of Divine tenderness.
Glittering were the palaces of the proud Hebrews. Yet the light of the world did not appear in one of them. Ostentatious with worldly grandeur, swimming in gold and in delights, were the great ones of the Hebrew nation. Filled with vain knowledge and pride were the priests of the sanctuary. In opposition to the true meaning of Divine revelation, they awaited an officious Saviour, who would come into the world with human renown and power.
But God, always ready to confound the wisdom of the world, shatters their plans. Contrary to the expectations of those lacking in Divine wisdom, He seeks refuge and comfort among mere animals, choosing their habitation as the place of His birth, allowing their breath to give warmth to His tender body. He permits simple and rustic shepherds to be the first to pay their respects to Him, after he himself informed them, by means of His angels, of the wonderful mystery.
Oh wisdom and power of God, we are constrained to exclaim – enraptured along with your Apostle – how incomprehensible are your judgments and unsearchable your ways! Poverty, humility, abjection, contempt, all surround the Word made flesh. But we, out of the darkness that envelops the incarnate Word, understand one thing, hear one voice, perceive one sublime truth.
You have done everything out of love, you invite us to nothing else but love, speak of nothing except love, give us naught except proofs of love.”