Getting BUMPED at Christmas
The Christmas story is full of the unexpected. Even as prophecy is being fulfilled and Jesus was our long-expected Savior, the Christmas story was full of surprises! And today, our Christmas stories are often full of the unexpected, too.
We have high expectations, strong traditions and grand plans for our holidays. It’s guaranteed that something won’t go as we planned. And when we get BUMPED at Christmas, what spills out of us lands on others. I’m very susceptible to anger and frustration spilling out of me when I get BUMPED during the full season of Christmas. But this year, I really wanted goodness to spill out of me more often than not.
I spent time looking at the Christmas Story characters to see how they “got bumped” and what spilled out of them. One moment I keep thinking about was when Mary and Joseph were BUMPED from the inn. When Mary was BUMPED, grace seemed to spill out.
Had it been me, I picture myself standing there with a lot of “not good” spilling out of me.
I might have been angry that my husband didn’t plan ahead. I would have been annoyed by the poor service at the establishment. I likely would be overwhelmed with sadness and find myself wallowing in a self-pity party.
Those negative attitudes would have filled my heart and left no room for treasuring or pondering. But it says Mary had room in her heart for those very things. I imagine she looked around at what was available, accepted with gratitude this change in plans and yielded to what God was up to. “And she laid him in the manger.” These words have become so beautiful, so empowering to me. I have practiced this phrase a lot this month, “Lay it in the manger, Heidi, lay it in the manger.” (I even have a song I sing! I’ll sing it for you if you ask me to.) May we all embrace the “changes of plans” that occur this Christmas.
And may we extend the GRACE that was spilled out into the manger on The first Christmas.
Heidi Connors, Minister to Children & Their Families