I spent some time with a few other Secular Franciscans this afternoon as we fitted children for their costumes in preparation for Sunday's "Greccio" (living Nativity) celebration.
Little groups of primary-school children approached us wanting to be angels and shepherds. They walked away proudly carrying their robes and wings and halos.
And then there was one little girl. She's a beautiful child, and would be a perfect angel in her white robe and gold halo and shiny wings. Except for one little detail.
She said to me, with tears in her eyes, "I don't know if I can be here Sunday....my mommy and daddy are splitting up."
There was no way I was going to do anything to make this little girl any sadder than she already was. I told her that she could try on her costume, and we would hold it here in a special place. If she could come Sunday, the costume would be here for her to wear.
And then the teenagers helping us got this little girl outfitted in our most beautiful angel robe. We put it away in a safe place so we'll be sure to have it for her.
I hope we see this child on Sunday. I hope she gets to wear that robe. She's got enough heartbreak on her plate, at Christmastime. She should at least get to be an angel for an afternoon.