Francis’ devotion at Christmas

A story about Francis’ devotion at Christmas and how he wanted all things to be treated on that feast day.
From the book: The Life of St. Francis, by Thomas of Celano,

In the year 1215 Francis observed the birthday of the Child Jesus with inexpressible eagerness over all other feasts, saying that it was the feast of feasts, on which God, having become a tiny infant, clung to human breasts.
Pictures of those infant members he kissed with thoughts filled with yearning, and his compassion for the Child flooded his heart and made him stammer words of sweetness after the manner of infants. His name was like honey and a honeycomb was in Francis’ mouth.
When the question arose about eating meat that day, since that Christmas day was a Friday,” he replied, saying to Brother Morico: “You sin, Brother, calling the day on which the Child was born to us a day of fast. It is my wish,” he said, “that even the walls should eat meat on such a day, and if they cannot, they should be smeared with meat on the outside.”
On this day Francis wanted the poor and the hungry to be filled by the rich, and more than the usual amount of grain and hay given to the oxen and asses. “If I could speak to the emperor,” he said, “I would ask that a general law be made that all who can should scatter corn and grain along the roads so that the birds might have an abundance of food on the day of such great solemnity, especially our sisters the larks.” He would recall, not without tears, what great want surrounded the poor Virgin on that day.
Once when he was sitting at dinner, a certain brother talked about the poverty of the Blessed Virgin and recalled the want of Christ, her Son. Francis immediately arose from the table and, with great sighs and many tears, ate the rest of the meal on the bare ground. For this reason he would say that this virtue that shone forth so eminently in the King and Queen was a royal virtue.
And when the brothers were discussing at a gathering which virtue does more to make one a close friend of Christ, Francis, as though making known to them a secret of his heart, answered: “Know, my sons, that poverty is the special way to salvation; it’s fruit is manifold, but it is really well known only to a few.”

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