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The Other John M's Christmas Gifts to Me

I had just gotten up early last Christmas morning when the doorbell rang. It was John, the man who cuts my grass regularly. He greeted me with his usual big smile. On his hand were two recycled grocery plastic bags and he gave them to me, saying "Merry Christmas! I baked this banana bread for you and your wife. Eat it while it is still warm." I touched it. It was still warm.

John is the other John M I talked about in a previous blog on this website who accidentally cut a vine of my clematis plant around my Mary's shrine in front of my house. He is the John to whom I had said: "Next time please take care of my plants around Mary's shrine. I love her" who replied: "Yes, she is the mother of Jesus, but I think you should not pray to her." That had offended me and broke my heart.

I invited him in because it was very cold outside although he had more gifts of banana bread (his specialty) to deliver to his other friends/clients. I asked about his wife, Ruth, and he said she was not doing well, suffering from bronchitis or some other ailment. Could I pray for her, he asked, and I said, "of course." "And could you also pray for my daughter-in-law, wife of my son Jack who painted your deck? She is not well either." I said, "of course, I will just be very happy to pray for her as well."

On his way out he said: "I will blow your leaves when it's not too cold. Lots of leaves in your shrine of the Blessed Mother."

When he said: "Blessed Mother," that was music to my ears.

"Thank you," I replied. "Ask also our Blessed Mother to pray for Ruth and Jack's wife. Her prayers are more powerful than mine. Jesus gave her to us as our Mother. And at the wedding at Cana, when she brought the newlywed couple's predicament to her Son, He did not let her down."

I think that John left our house, knowing Mary, our Blessed Mother, for who she is, and loving her and her only Son, Jesus, more.

And when I saw him taking a gaze at my Mary's shrine as he walked to his car, I knew and felt that that gaze was his greater and more precious gift to me, much more than the banana bread that he thoughtfully baked for me and my wife that very early Christmas day.#

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