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He is not alone. A gentle young Mother bends over Him.

Her eyes are full of love and worship.
A tender watchful Mother.

Earth has never before seen such a mother. There never can be another like to her, so pure, so holy, like a spotless white lily-flower amongst the dark thorns of earth.

She has no better place this night wherein to lay her new-born BABE.

It is Mary, our Mother Mary.
His Mother and our Mother for ever,

evermore.

A grave peaceful man watches over them, calm in the midst of all this scene of poverty.

Nothing can disturb him, nothing daunts him, for his heart belongs to God, to that little CHILD whose Foster-father he is henceforth.

It is JOSEPH, our own dear Saint Joseph.

The stars shine right down through the worn roof from the clear cold sky.

Brighter than the stars are the angels, not only in heaven above, but unseen by us, adoring this holy CHILD, their Creator, lying in that rough manger-cradle.

He has never shown such love for those shining angels, bright sinless angels, as for

us.

How we must love Him if we have hearts at all wherewith to love !

JESUS, I thank Thee for coming thus. Great God, how Thou hast humbled Thyself! It seems too much, too wonderful, but I know that it is true.

Nothing is too wonderful for Thy great, Thy everlasting love.

For love of Thee I will be humble.. Take away my pride and my self-will.

MARY, I thank thee and bless thee for loving God so nobly, so purely, so humbly, that He gave His dear Son to us through thee. Pray to that Son, that I may have grace to learn of Him and thee to be meek and humble of heart.

JOSEPH, Foster- father of JESUS, the Heart of that holy Child beats for me. Mary is my Mother; pray for me that I may be truly humble and belong to this Holy Family, now, and at the hour of my death, and for evermore.

Most Holy Child JRSUS, save Thy chil. dren.

MEDITATION II.

THE SHEPHERDS.

Grace to ask for : Holy simplicity,

singleness of heart. See those good shepherds on the mountain side.

How watchfully they guard their flocks through the long drear night!

It is to keep away the robber and the wolf from their sheep that they are thus wakeful,

They are men of good-will; their hearts are brave and pure. They are true and single-hearted men.

With care far tenderer than their own does the great God look down upon them.

Over their little fire of sticks they sing to their pipes of reed the songs of David, the shepherd-king, who slew the lion and the bear and the tall giant of Gath :

'The Lord is my Shepherd, and I shall lack nothing.'

The Shepherd of Israel'slumbers not, nor sleeps.'

The sound floats on the sharp midnight air; the watch-fire flickers, and casts long shadows out into the gloom.

In a moment a bright light flashes around them-a brightness from God. And the Angel of God stands by them.

So sudden, so strange a sight upon this dark earth, no wonder that these simple men tremble with dread.

· Fear not; I bring you the good news

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the news of great joy which will be for you and for all people.

'For this night is born for you, in the city of David, the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. This shall be a token : you shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.

And suddenly with the Angel appears a multitude of angels, praising God and saying:

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good-will.'

The shepherds stay not, nor linger with their flocks.

They hasten to the stable, and there they behold Mary, and Joseph, and the Infant lying in the manger.

Happy shepherds, pure hearts, simple souls; after Mary and Joseph the first of earth to worship the new-born King. To please God in all their ways was the one aim of these holy men, these shepherds of Judea.

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