Spiritually Speaking – December 2019
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to His
riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 ESV
The family decided to buy a new nativity scene a week before Christmas. When they unpacked it, they found ¬2 figures of the Baby Jesus! “Someone must have packed this wrong,” said Mother, counting out the figures. “We have 1 Joseph, 1 Mary, 3 wise men, 3 shepherds, 2 lambs, 1 donkey, 1 cow, 1 angel, and 2 babies! Oh dear! I guess some nativity set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus, because we have 2 of them!”
“You two run back to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Baby Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes—saying if a set is missing a Baby Jesus to call 7126. Put on your warm coats; it’s freezing cold out there.”
The manager of the store copied down Mother’s message; and the next time they were in the store, they saw the cardboard sign that read: “If you’re missing Baby Jesus, call 7126.” All week long they waited for someone to call about that important figurine! Each time the phone rang, Mother would say: “I’ll bet that’s about Jesus,” but it never was.
Father tried to explain that packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested that they put the extra Baby Jesus back in the box and forget it. Then the children cried, “Put Baby Jesus in the box—how awful!” “Surely someone will call,” said Mother. “We’ll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone calls.”
When no one had called by 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Mother insisted that Father “run down to the store” to see if there were any sets left. “You can see them right through the window—over on the counter,” she said. “If they are all gone, I’ll know someone is bound to call tonight.” “Run down to the store? Father thundered. “It’s 15 degrees below zero out there!”
“Oh, Daddy, we’ll go with you,” said Tommy and Mary as they put on their coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he muttered. Tommy and Mary ran ahead as Father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Mary got to the store first and pressed her nose up to the store window. “They’re all gone, Daddy,” she shouted. “Every set must be sold!”
“Hooray”, Tommy said. “The mystery will be solved tonight!” Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home.
When they got back home, Mother was gone—and so was the extra Baby Jesus
figurine. “Someone must have called, and she went to deliver the figurine,” Father said, pulling off his boots. “You kids get ready for bed while I wrap Mother’s present.”
Then the phone rang. Father yelled, “Answer the phone and tell them we found a home for Jesus.” But it was Mother calling with instructions for them to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring 3 blankets, a box of cookies and some milk. “Now what has she gotten us into?” Father groaned as they bundled up again.
“205 Chestnut…why that’s across town! Why can’t we just get on with Christmas? It’s probably 20 degrees below, and the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do!”
When they got to the address, it was the darkest house on the block. One tiny light burned in the window; and the moment they stepped on the porch, Mother opened the door and shouted, “They’re here. Thank God you’re here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I’ll take the milk and cookies.”
Father said, “Would you mind telling me what’s going on, Ethel?” “Never mind all that now,” said Mother. “There isn’t any heat in this house, and this young mother is very upset. Her husband walked out on her, and those little children are going to have a bleak Christmas, so don’t you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy.”
The young Mother said, “I been doin’ washin’ and ironin’ for people and also
cleanin’ at the 5 & Dime. I saw your number every day on those boxes. When the furnace went out, that number kept going through my mind. It said on the box that if a person was missin’ Jesus, they should call you. That’s how I knew you were good Christian people—willin’ to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me too. I’m not missin’ Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin’ heat, and I have no money to fix the furnace.”
Father got the oil burner working and said with pride: “I’ll make a few calls
tonight to get some more oil. Yes sir, you came to the right place!” Then he noticed that the woman’s children stared wide-eyed at the plate of cookies and warm milk that his wife had set on the table. He also noticed that the only sign of Christmas in the house was the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table.
When they finally got home, they stayed busy pulling clothes out of their
closets and toys off their shelves. They wrapped gifts long after their usual bedtime. Before long a friend’s pickup arrived with more furnace oil. Father and Mother loaded chairs, 3 lamps, blankets, and more gifts on the pickup. Father even let the children ride along in the back of the truck for the delivery.
No one ever called about the missing figure in the nativity set. Maybe it really wasn’t a packing mistake at all.