Fr. Livio: Here in Medjugorje it seems to me that there is the beautiful tradition of the living manger that, on the other hand, we should also do, in a small way, with our families, and in our homes.
Marija: Not only in families, but I think also in front of our houses. In the communist period it was forbidden, but now that we can, we set up the manger where it can be seen: in front of the house, on the balcony, in the windows … We must show that for us the manger is important.
Sometimes I go to the bookstore to buy Christmas cards and they give me postcards with Santa Claus or a tree, and when I tell them that these are not Christmas cards, they look at me surprised and assure me that they are.
So, I have to give you the explanation that Christmas are only those in which the manger appears. The manger is Christmas. These are also samples of our faith. Let’s not put trees, dolls or so many other things that are usually put, let’s put the manger! Let’s make that little publicity, so to speak, that each of us can do.
P. Livio: Marija, what do you think, do you think that prayer should be in the first place, especially when talking about family? Although there are so many things that help prepare Christmas, they help to remember this central event of the Redemption. Therefore, to rediscover all our traditions of the Christmas of yesteryear and not the consumerist Christmas that is lived now.
Marija: Yes, Father Livio. In our country, we have the tradition of a Mass called the Advent Mass that is celebrated very early in the morning with candles, since the electric light was not turned on. This Mass is at 5 in the morning and is very popular. When I am in Medjugorje in the time of Advent, I like it a lot because I see that the mothers wear their pajamas under their coats, to go back to bed when they return home, or to take their coffee calmly and then wake up the children. Sometimes you also see children who come with parents. This is a Croatian tradition. I do not know if it exists in Italy, maybe it existed in the past.