When I was a restless and rambunctious shaver I had the job of going for the milk. It was not bought in stores, or delivered to one’s home. You had to get your milk can and go and get it. When we lived in Castletownroche I had to draw the water from the village pump, as well as go for the milk on a daily basis. The pump was not far away. Next to Hogan’s shop, a great place for sweets(candy). If we had a real hot Summer the pump would dry up and I had to go deep into the woods to draw water from a well. It was a long haul, and uphill most of the way home. The journey for milk was even longer. I had to go to Watson’s Farm. That was a long trek. On the way I passed by the church. For a little garsun (gaelic for kid) it was a big dark place, a place not too inviting to visit on one's own. This was especially true with the added darkness of Winter.
In December things changed. The Crib appeared in the sanctuary, as if by magic. It was a big crib scene. i have not seen one bigger in any church I have visited, and I am in that business. Looking back it was my first experience of a real silent place. There was something about looking at ,gazing at all the silent figures. They looked so real I expected them to come alive. They never did. The figures, some of whom were way bigger than I, enthralled, fascinated me. That fascination has not weaned over the years. The inherent excitement of the spiritual journey, is that after looking at something familiar for a long period of time it is not familiar anymore. It has evolved into a new life enhancing reality. This has been my experience with the familiar crib.