Blessing the Manger of Jesus Christ

Here they all are again, right in front of us. And here we are again. They are presented to us for our adoration and our emulation. We and the Church call them the “Holy Family.”

Over here is “Silent Joseph” whose words are never spoken but whose dreams all come true. Thank you Joseph for listening to something more powerful than words. Can we do the same?

Next to Joseph is the “Enriching Mrs. Cow” wondering whose milk she can nourish. Could it be that child? Whose body can she provide and sacrifice? Thank you Mrs. Cow for the gift of your life given for others. Can we do the same?

Over there is Mr. Donkey whose durable body carries a pregnant woman soon to be called “mom.” Thank you, Mr. Donkey for carrying our Mother and the Savior of the world to safety. But please don’t forget to stay healthy and call AAA for directions to Eqypt. Can we carry someone and do the same?

On top of us roams “Hovering Angels” (What else do angels do except hover!?) smiling down on us at our erksome, troubling and unsolvable problems that always contains a divinely inspired solution. Thank you Hovering Angels and please keep watch over us. We need all of you, especially the one we call “Guardian.”

I didn’t forget her. In front of us is Mary, a simple name that gains stature because of what she represents and presents to us. Simplicity made grandeur, humility that finds peace, perseverance leading toward life’s next inch when those previous inches failed. Thank you Mary for embracing all of life’s contradictions and treasuring them within your heart. For they are all lived through you and all solved because of this one mangy manger.

And the newborn? We already know about him. Laid in a manger, a trough meant for animal food. The greatest of all metaphors – the trough of food that will soon be for us the spiritual food to strengthen our minds and hearts to live lives that mirror’s his.

Here they all are again for our adoration and emulation.

The Marriott was full. They didn’t have enough points for the Bethlehem Sheraton and Tom Bodett forgot to “leave the light on.”

So this mangy, meager manger full of unlikely people, beasts and celestial beasts gives us never a remark like – never a wink, “I promise you that”, certainly not a “good luck with that.” This simple stable scene reenacts for us each year the people we need to be, as best we can. Dreamers. Nourishing. Food that is shared. Able to carry another one more necessary step. Grounded in our thinking because of those heavenly guides. Treasuring all of the stuff our lives – goods, bads and indifferents; like Mary. And all waking to new births which is always our tomorrows and all our days after that.

Can we do the same? We wouldn’t be here if we thought we couldn’t.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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