Eggs in a Hat
I don’t know if you remember the Woolworths stores, including the one in the Manassas Shopping Center. I loved going into Woolworths as a kid. It seemed they had everything, including tropical fish and a snack bar. There’s not one of these stores that I know of anywhere around here, even those the company is still in business. Just not here.
I remember that my mother bought a Nativity set from the store with all the usual suspects: the angels, wise men, shepherds, sheep, donkeys, Mary, Joseph, a tiny cradle and of course the Christ child. My father made a wooden stable, and our collection was jammed into it in the most joyous and satisfying way. In the way of children, I had my favorite character, but it wasn’t a wise man or angel as you might expected. Instead I liked one of the shepherds who, dressed in what looked like burlap, had a number of eggs in the gray hat. He was bending toward the baby as if giving his offering to the child, never mind that newborns can’t eat eggs. But I have to think that the shepherd wanted to offer the best of what he had, and the eggs were it. The key is that he gave freely of something that the baby at least couldn’t use, although I have a feeling that Mary and Joseph had a tasty mutton omelet for Shabbat brunch later on.
The point of all this is that the shepherd gave of the best he had, even if it didn’t rank with gold or frankincense or myrrh, the gifts of kings. I think it notable that the shepherds, the lowest of the low in that society, were the first to see and worship the baby. The kings came three or four years later. But shepherds and kings brought gifts and worshipped the Redeemer as their response to the gift God had given them, the same gift God has given to us. Praise God for the gift of his Son, for the remembrance of the Christmas season, and for the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen