People we meet, books we read, family experiences, simple day to day activities could all be put in our paths to guide our journey back to God. Coincidences or God-instances? Watch. Listen. Share. Be open to the possibilities.
When our children get to fifth grade at St. Henry's, each December they are assigned a "Nativity Project". They are asked to create a nativity scene from items around the house (in our case with help from Michael's) and write a meditation from the perspective of one of the "characters" in the scene. My children have chosen the star and the shepherd and the donkey and others, all special and well thought-out, each making me cry for a different reason; a memory, a connection, a love of the sensitivity. This year my youngest chose to make her nativity from clay and to write her meditation from the perspective of the littlest lamb. How appropriate for the youngest to choose the smallest! I was moved by her excitement and creativeness, using cotton pads for angel wings, her Nike shoe box with bark on top for a stable and crayon tips for the kings' crowns. But most of all, I loved the gifts from the kings. The gold, frankincense and myrrh were a gold Hershey wrapper, coffee grounds mixed with paprika and crunched sugar pops. They looked great and I was all ready to blog about the great gifts the kings brought to offer to the sweet baby Jesus. But then, it happened on the day the project was due; this past Tuesday. The Gospel reading was about the Good Shepherd...the lost sheep...the leaving all to save just one. I was reminded quickly and blatantly of my child's meditation. I was reminded of her seriousness about her poor little lamb who followed this shepherd who was led by a star across fields he had never crossed, to a place where poor parents were huddled around a small newborn baby in a "hay-filled" stable. This little lamb moved closer to the baby to offer him warmth. And days later as the kings presented their gifts, the little lamb realized that this child was special. He realized that although he had his own shepherd who led him to this place far from home, he now was in the presence of the true shepherd who would give everything to save even one, even the littlest one. This child who made gifts for royalty to present to the newborn king from coffee grounds and candy wrappers and sugar pops found the true gift to all of us in the story of the birth of the One who will shepherd us, who will lead us, protect us, carry us. To her it wasn't about the gifts that were given but the gift that we received and we continue to receive every Christmas morning. It is all about that newborn baby, our Shepherd, our Savior, Jesus.