On the third Sunday of Advent, I belatedly unpacked the advent box. The golden ring, which by now should have held partially burnt pink and purple candles, rested disconsolately by the side of the box. The candles stood by, but Michael, who usually found greens for the wreath, had gone skiing.
I unpacked the creche, placed the ox eating out of the manger on one end of the piano, hid Jesus in my Grandmother's blue bowl, and put Mary, Joseph and the donkey at the other end of the piano. The idea was that they were on route, but given their fixed poses, no matter what I did, Mary and Joseph looked a bit like they were reverencing the donkey's behind. (The ass's ass as it were.)
I placed the shepherd with sheep in the center of the piano, wondering vaguely if I could get away with a green scarf for the advent wreath. Did I even have a green scarf? Maybe wrapping paper? Carrying the three kings and camel into the other room to put on a window (they were still a long way off), I noticed a letter that needed to be mailed. Switching tracks with the ease that comes of long practice, I took the letter out to the mail box across the road.
There, plopped in the middle of the road just to the left of our driveway, sat the bottom 12 inches of a small Christmas tree; its perfectly formed branches unmarred by any passing cars. "Oh," say I, "my greens." I gather it up and return to the house, rejoicing.
When the kings arrive at the manger, it will be Epiphany. Mary, Joseph and the donkey will be looking at Jesus. The ox looking at Jesus. Even the shepherd will be looking at Jesus. The manger will be full. The Word Shop will also be full since you are invited to a party there that night from 5 to 8:00. (Thursday, January 6) Come and look at Jesus in our little stable. Bring a candle and finger food to share if you want to. Or just come empty handed. You can leave with a full hands, a warmed heart, and maybe even an epiphany.
"If you don't find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further. -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)