This is a custom we kept throughout the years. It is a beautiful little devotion preparing our hearts for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas.
You can do the special things indicated each day in this devotion in your own manger scene, using your imagination.
Or you can do what we did. We put up 4 big white posterboard papers on an empty wall to make a big blank paper just waiting for the crayons and sharpies to make their mark! (You can make it as big or small as you like, using just one or two posterboards.) Each day we draw the part of the manger scene that is applicable to that day.
I usually do the drawing in pencil then the child whose day it is traces it with colored markers and colors it in.
We also print out all of the special prayers individually and put each one up for the day so we can say the prayer throughout the day.
Here’s the devotion:
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
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. —Mary, use these
sacrifices to prepare my heart for Jesus in
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
DEC.8 – SOFT STRAW
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 let me love you more and
DEC.10 – BLANKETS
Provide the manger 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, let me do Your will in all
Bring fresh clean water to the crib. Avoid every
untruthful word and every deceitful act.
—Dearest Mary, obtain for me true contrition for
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
and patient. Do not murmur or complain.
my heart like Yours.
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
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
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 time today
thinking of Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
—Come, dear Jesus, Come; my heart belongs to You.