“Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” Phil 1:18 (RSV)
The local guys raided the church store rooms until they found all the stuff for a nativity scene. Three loaded pick ups arrived at the town hall lawn on a cold snowy day. Experienced old- timers directed the younger, enthusiastic newbies in the arrangement of roof, manger, and hay bale walls. Frigid winter weather hastened a rapid appearance of the historic manger scene. Costumed mannequins were propped in position until evening hours when humans arrived and it became a living pageant. Carefully shielded lights provided some warmth for the actors and kept the scene visible for townsfolk, tour- ists, and visitors.
It was a little girl who spotted the uninvited actors taking ad- vantage of a warm place on a cold night. Two cats perched on a bale of hay where Mary sat. Paws folded under eyes closed as though praying, their bodies added warmth to Mary as she cuddled her son. Their presence became an accepted part of the scene. Nightly, the pageant proceeded flawlessly, refreshing memories of past Christmases for the onlookers.
The local newspaper sent a photographer and writer for a Christmas season article. The staffers were instructed to include names of the actors in the photographs. The little girl provided the writer with names for the cats: Rejoice and Be Glad.
Heavenly Father, help us rejoice with a childlike awareness of Your Presence, all day, every season. Alleluia. Amen.