Last Thursday night, Shea and I went on a date. We had dinner and then we hit Barnes and Noble to spend a gift card.
On our way out, a man approached us cautiously and asked for money. He said “We need gas to drive to Eugene.” I looked in the car behind him and saw a woman.
I knew I had some cash in my purse and as I rummaged for it, I took in the details: the man who could not look me in the eye, his pride coming off him in waves. The car stuffed with clothes and Dollar Store bags.
And in the backseat, a baby.
“You have a wee bit,” I said, surprised.
“Yeah,” he said. “My son. The shelters are full in Medford, and Grants Pass too. That’s why we have to get to Eugene.”
They turned away a baby, I thought. I offered him all the money I had, which just happened to be more than usual.
He didn’t want to take it. “It’s too much.”
“Eugene is a long way,” I told him.
That was the first time he looked me in the face. “God bless you.”
And then they left.
I told my mom when we got home and the next day she said “It makes me think of that picture you posted on Facebook.”
Maybe you saw it. It’s called “Jose y Maria” by Everett Patterson.
Two years ago our priest told us at Christmas Mass that while Christmas is such a special and precious celebration, we make a mistake if we leave the Baby in the manger. He grew up to be the Savior of the world. He is with us.
I think we make a mistake if we leave Joseph and Mary in the manger. They looked poor and alone that night and not like they were carrying the Son of God.
If we look around we can see that they are with us too.