In the name of the +Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
There was once this parish, and it had saved up for years to buy a new Nativity Set. It was beautiful, ornate, special and everyone in the parish was so proud of it. It had taken a few years to acquire, because the parish wasn’t made of money (a bit like us really) and finally, they had managed to complete the set and purchase the Bambino – the Christ Child to really finish it off.
The Vicar took a visitor to see it on St Stephen’s Day and horrors, it was missing – the manger was empty!
He heard the door latch and encouraged his visitor to hide with him in the shadows. Had the thief come back for more?
They watched, open mouthed, as a small boy pushed a wheelbarrow up the aisle towards the Crib.
On arrival he took out the Bambino and placing it in the manger was heard to say: “There, I told you that if I got a wheelbarrow for Christmas you would have the first ride in it!”
The good God loves hiding Himself in wrapping – a babe in Bethlehem, a refugee in Egypt, a growing boy in Nazareth, a friend of publicans and sinners, in broken Word, in Broken Bread and Wine out poured …..
but Shepherds, Magi, Peter, Countless men and women… and a small boy with a wheelbarrow knew Him!
Now that’s the Gift to expect, receive and rejoice over at Christmas and in every Eucharist.
May God bless you richly this holy season and in the year to come and may you treasure that hidden gem in our midst: the Christ-child born this day.