Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
December 29th, 2012

Nancy Shirley

School of Nursing
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Four days ago we received the greatest gift of all.  We prepared for and received the baby Jesus.  I love this time of year – all the bustle in getting ready for the DAY - then a time to sit back and bask in this great gift.  As we are nearly midway in the 12 days of Christmas, we still sing carols as we await the arrival of the Magi.  Our church even shows the Magi off to the side slowly approaching the Crèche on the altar. 

Our readings today reflect once again on expectations – of us and what is to become of the new born babe.

The first reading challenges us that we need to “walk the talk.”  Our actions need to be congruent with what we claim to be our beliefs. If we say we love, we need to show it! There are so many beautiful stories written about that this time of year (or perhaps we just appreciate them even more at this time.)  One of my favorites is The Christmas Box. Richard Paul Evans originally wrote The Christmas Box as an expression of love for his two daughters, never intending for it to be published. It is especially precious to me because my daughter gave it to me one Christmas many years ago saying that she knew I would enjoy it because it is about a mother’s love (excuse me while I wipe a tear!).  This year we have had our own Christmas Box(es) stories.  Last month, I shared about our putting together boxes for Operation Christmas Child and some of the unseen consequences. There is one more story from our experience.  I am blessed to live close to Boystown and I was told that the empty boxes for sending the gifts were available at the Boystown church (Dowd Chapel). I was going to stop by on my way home to pick them up but it was late and I felt quite tired.  I decided on an alternative plan of stopping on my way into work the next day.

As I walked into the church, I noticed two older gentleman.  One assisting the other who appeared to be physically and mentally challenged.  I went up to the altar and gathered four of the eight boxes I needed and as I exited the church with my treasures, the one gentleman asked me if I would take their picture in the front of the church.  I responded that I just needed to get these boxes in the car and I would be happy to assist them but with the caveat that I do not take very good pictures.  So. . . I took their picture and as I handed back the camera, he asked again, “I know you are busy but could you take our picture in front of the statute?”  He was pointing to THE Boystown statue and symbol of one boy with another on his shoulders.  Of course, I said yes.  First, I explained, I would need to get my other four boxes and then meet them over at the statue.  It was certainly too far for the one man to walk with his cane so they would need time to get in the truck and drive there. We both parked near the statue and as we walked toward it, they introduced themselves – they were brothers from Minnesota here to see Boystown and visit some priest friends.  The idea was to use this picture as their Christmas card, so I did my very best to take a variety of pictures.  A man walking by stopped and asked if I wanted to get in the picture, I chuckled as I said I didn’t think they wanted me in their Christmas card. More seriously, however, the gravity of the momemt was not lost on me, as I viewed them in the camera. Here they were, brothers, one clearly the caretaker of the other, standing under the famous statue with the saying, “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.”  They thanked me profusely and asked for God’s blessings on me.  I wiped the tears as I got into my car. 

Once again, one cannot discount the hand of God in all of this.  No coincidences here – to make the decision to fill the boxes, to have my prayer partner tell me about the boxes being available at Dowd; to be at the church in the morning instead of the evening before at just the time they were visiting.  God provided these opportunities to live his commandments and I was blessed enough to recognize it.  I wonder how many times, he has opened these doors for me and I did not notice. Another gift in this wonderful season.

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