Thursday, December 27, 2012

Poor as I am

It’s a simple tradition. We do it for the children. But after all the unwrapping of Christmas morning, it is the ritual I am still thinking about.

For weeks we worked slowly to fill a manger. Each time the children performed an act of kindness, made someone’s bed, cleared the table, let a sibling have that coveted spot on the couch for stories, they placed a pinch of hay between wood. The days were filled with plenty of non-hay-earning acts. Ugly words, pushing and punching. But there was effort. And each time I saw goodness, I tried to point it out, reward with a handful of hay.

On Christmas Eve, five-year-old Ali wrapped baby Jesus in a white dish towel and laid him in the manger. There, all our acts of charity and selflessness cushioned him, gave him place among us.


We read from Matthew 25,
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me..."

The rest of the story is at Segullah today. It's about poverty, and giving, and sacrifice. Hope to hear from you there.


  1. I wanted to comment over here, as my comment is less about your beautiful post and more about the gift you said you would give. There is a memory in my mind of a time when my triplets were somewhere between 1 and 3. I have no idea what had just happened, but I can see myself standing in my kitchen, looking at my then 7 year old, holding onto the island. I had just yelled so angrily and intensely that my throat was stinging from it. And I was standing there gripping the island wondering what on earth my problem was, and why I couldn't seem to get a handle on things and stop yelling at my kids. (Who at that point were 14, 10, 7, and the triplets.)

    Fast forward a couple of years--one day I realized that I NEVER yelled anymore. And then I realized too that the yelling wasn't really me--I didn't yell before that stressful time period of baby triplets and toddler triplets, and I didn't yell after. It was a by-product of the amount of stress that existed in my life then. And it made me feel a lot better about myself.

    I'm saying this because, while it's good to try to make ourselves better, sometimes it's good to understand what is happening and that it might be less a character flaw than a result of intense stress over a long period of time.

    Hope that makes any sense!

    1. Cindy - It makes absolute sense. Yet, in the moment of heat and frustration, I wonder why I can't be calmer, move with more patience through these hard years. But another friend said something almost exactly the same to me. (Anne Marie - are you reading?) One day she suddenly realized she didn't yell any more. Nothing had really changed about her. Her boys had simply grown older. So it is helpful to hear from women like you who know, as you said, "sometimes it is the result of intense stress over a long period of time." I look forward to the day I don't have to yell - to be heard or quell the mayhem. Thanks Cindy for your wisdom and perspective. I appreciate you.

    2. ps - Cindy. Triplets... I still wonder how you did it. xo

  2. not at all surprised you would be a presenter. xox


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