A Christmas of Cats

How common can it be to find a box of cats on the church stoop?

Word is, we’re in the cat business.

For the second time in two years, I found another box of live things to find homes for.

Angel the Cat — this past Sunday — reminded me of my Christmas of Cats, just last year.  Read on …

It was 8:15 am or so, when I pulled up to the church about ten days before Christmas, and there before me sat a big box – a very large box – on the sidewalk, just outside the church’s front doors.  Right away I noticed its size, and then I noticed there were holes punched in the box, lots and lots of holes.  The last thing I noticed was the great quantity of duct tape keeping the box top shut.

“This can’t be good,” I said audibly, to no one in particular.

I got out of my car thinking the box certainly contained one of two things: (1) an explosive device of some sort or (2) a live animal.  The latter option was such a good bet that I didn’t even stop to look.  First, I carried all of my things to my office, and then I came back outside for a better look.

There was a note – also duct taped – to the top of the box.  It explained that the box’s precious contents just couldn’t move to Texas.  “I’ve lost my house and have to move in with my daughter,” the writer explained. “I know you have good hearts and will find a good home for my babies.”

I shoved the big box into the front doors, knowing that whatever it contained would be cold by now.  And then I stood there.  I was confident that the contents of the box would change the course of my entire day, and so I set off first to make coffee.

When I returned, slightly more energized for the task at hand, I pulled open the box, but slowly.  Eyes peered up at me.  I noticed three sets and smiled.  They looked clean, friendly, and curious.  I pulled open the box even further.  Six cats looked … and waited.  Not scared, not sick, just curious and wondering who their new owner would be.

It was a Christmas of Cats, to be sure.

Well, I was right.  Those cats changed the course of my entire day and my Christmas.  It took us only about eight hours to find good homes for the kitties, all but one, that is.  When I left the church that night after Christmas caroling, I was 99% certain I would be bringing home the mother cat the following evening.  And I did.  Her name is Annie.

Jesus was born into this world as unexpectedly and ordinarily.  In a manger on a typical day of the week and in ordinary circumstances.  There wasn’t fanfare.  There wasn’t a king’s crown, a coronation, or even a crib.  Just a baby.  That special birthday came and went, but what followed changed the course of history and the lives of all of those who would come to know him.

Those who come to know him still.

Annie is fitting into our family quite well.  She sits most days on one of the twin’s chairs, climbs on counters or tables when we’re not looking, tolerates the pats of passing toddlers, and respects our other cat’s personal space.  She was a Christmas present to us all.  She’s fun, she adds much to my children’s lives, and she was an unexpected gift for me, a surprise in an ordinary week.

Christmas may be over but the surprise and miracle of Christ’s coming is with us still.  As we seek his will, as we turn to him in prayer or in the reading of the scriptures, he continues to reveal himself to us and to surprise us!  May your New Year be full of the unexpected gifts from God, blessings in ordinary or extraordinary ways.  The best kind.

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