We gathered today at the Crib in Kilmovee. It was Noon and a fine number turned up to place the figures in the Crib – a Crib that had been set in place by Martin Frain who celebrated his 80th Birthday a few months ago – a decent and good man who takes such pride in getting the crib ready. I asked him how long he has been doing it now and he told us “since 51, whatever length that is …..” – the maths done, it was clear that Martin has placed the Crib in the church for 62 years! Such generosity – as I write that, I realise he was eighteen the first time he did it – quite likely with someone else who showed him the how and the where …. it was a lesson well taught and eagerly learned. We so need people like that ……..
The children took the different figures from the porch of the church and carried them to the Crib as we sang “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and I thought the “faithful” were truly gathered. It was lovely to see so many children and their parents taking a bit of time out of Christmas Eve to focus on the essential.
We talked about “jigsaws” and the importance of each part in the story of the picture being assembled. Any part missing, irrespective of size or position, would leave the picture incomplete. We looked at the pieces in the Crib’s jigsaw:
- The straw: Supplying bedding and warmth.
- The lambs and sheep: their wool and breath combining to take away the winter chills
- The shepherds: carrying not just the sheep but the Angels’ story
- The Donkey: carrier of “The Carrier” or as one child put it “Mary rided to Bethlehem on the donkey …”
- The Cattle: providing milk and added warmth
- Mary: the one who found her “yes”
- Joseph: the provider
- The shed: only place available to offer shelter
Each one of us has something to bring to “the jigsaw” and my prayer for you all – my prayer for myself – is that, having found it, we may willingly offer that piece so that the story is complete.
Happy Christmas to you one and all. Thanks for your friendship, your prayers and your support. Thank you for helping me complete or at least have a clearer view of the jigsaw image …..
I will remember you all in Masses over the Christmas Days.