Well, here we are at the end of another Christmas season.
This nativity is one I always enjoy looking at; my mom used to take me to look at it, and this morning my daughter and I stopped by for a few minutes after mass.
We laughed, though, because a man in front of us was stuffing a plastic bag full with hay from the manger.
I knew this man from my childhood days. His mother was a lifelong friend of my aunt’s. He had been a priest once, long ago.
He turned to us and said,
Do you know the old Irish custom of taking hay from a blessed manger in a church?
No, I did not, but took the piece he offered me.
I’m getting plenty because I have friends who want some too. If you put this in your purse or pocket, you’ll have more money than you know what to do with in the coming year.
This little moment in the new year is the kind of story I want to remember. That’s why I share it here.
And, a surprise question called out in church today from a man in the back…I want to remember that too.
Father, are we supposed to bring gifts to Jesus in the manger?
The congregation was silent.
Father said, Yes. We bring Jesus the gift of ourselves. Thank you for being here.
I had several epiphanies today; you might agree.
And, I’m enjoying the last night of lights on the tree and baby Jesus in his manger before I carefully pack away everything for a few months. But I’ll keep the piece of straw and the reminder to be a gift.
Happy Feast of the Epiphany.