I know we have Thanksgiving coming up this week, so don’t freak out on me because I’m posting something about Christmas a few days before the actual Christmas season has started. But as I put out my Christmas decorations today, I felt compelled to write this…so I did.
A few years back, I was looking for a Nativity scene. I had looked at several different stores and found some nice ones, but never exactly what I wanted.
Christmas passed and Spring came…and so did garage sales. It was later in the day when I found this one (long after it had been picked over), but I stopped anyway. It was an older lady’s home. I walked through the maze of boxes of doll heads and parts and craft supplies she had collected over the years, but had not gotten around to doing. Nothing really interested me, so I started to leave.
As I headed back to my car, I spotted a table set off to the side. It was full of Christmas decor, but I decided to take a peek anyway. There were snowmen and Santas that looked out of place in the bright light of Spring and a few red candles that had started to wilt from the already warm Texas sun. I continued down the table, then stopped when I saw a Nativity scene.
It was full of mismatched pieces, some cracking from age, some slightly bigger than the others, but still I fell in love with it. I turned over one piece and saw an old price tag on one of the items from Murphy’s for $.10 and my heart sank. This was probably some antique, some family heirloom she coveted and wanted a bazillion dollars for (hence the reason it was still there). But I I found the elderly woman and decided to ask her how much it was anyway.
Inside, I had braced myself for disappointment, knowing she was about to rattle off some huge price I couldn’t afford, but instead she just smiled and said, “Just take it. It’s free.”
That wasn’t what I was expecting and I found myself, telling her I didn’t mind paying for it, but she just waved off my response with a bigger grin and insisted that it was now mine. So in the midst of a regular day, I walked to my car with this unexpected treasure.
Now every year I pull this set from the boxes full of Christmas decoration and think of this “gift” of the Nativity. There was nothing I had to do to earn it. She wouldn’t let me pay for it. All I had to do was accept it.
And the same is true with the real gift of the Nativity.
We cannot earn it. We cannot pay for it. All we can do is make the decision to accept it.
I hope the real reason for the season unexpectedly finds you and warms your heart, and that you all have a wonderful and Merry Christmas!