I believe I may have shared this before, but we always tell those in Formation that one of the blessings of being in mission is that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.
There are fewer distractions and demands on time and treasure. Little is done or expected in a gift exchange, it is about the Mass and perhaps a meal shared with friends and family.
Those who know me have certainly heard this story before, but it remains one of my favorite memories even though it happened more than 37 years ago when Tom and I served with our young family in Thailand.
A Peace Corp friend, Paula and I spent the better part of a month baking cookies, burning our hands making one of her families traditions of pulled toffee… and we prepared small boxes of cookies and treats for all the parishes in the Diocese. It took us about three days to get them all delivered, but on the last drop off, we drove as the sun was setting over the dirt road to deliver our last care package to one of the Thai priests.
We were getting close and were passing a few houses along the road when a chicken ran right in front of the truck! Tom brought the truck to an abrupt stop expecting we would need to stop and pay someone for this egg producer. But we looked on the road around the truck, no chicken in sight! Good news, the final delivery could continue!
When we arrived we went to the back of the truck to get the basket of cookies… and found, not only our labor of love but a dead chicken. The priest and two religious sisters were far more excited about the chicken than the cookies! Fr. Ling said it was a providence chicken!
I wish all a Christmas of joy as we reflect on the true gift that is God’s own son. Let us share this joy every way we can, it may not be a providence chicken, but as we share ourselves as Mission Doctors do every day we are joined to the continuing work of revealing God’s great love for the world!
Wishing you a blessed Christmas.