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Dollar Store Accident
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It was another bleak cold day in southwestern Michigan. Although Christmas was coming, I was not really filled with the joy of the spirit when I went into the local dollar store to buy some cleaning supplies. As I lumbered to the front with far too many items in my hands, I struck an object with a bottle of bleach. As it fell to the floor, I heard a crack. I turned around to see what item I had just broken and would now be buying.

There on the floor lay a Nativity scene. The ceramic figurines were scattered about, and one of the three wise men had been decapitated by the fall from the shelf. Setting my other goods down beside the mess I had made, I started to re-create the Nativity scene. I picked up each piece, one at a time, carefully placing them back into what I thought might have been their original positions.

As I held the broken figurine of the wise man, a sales associate looked down at me and asked what had happened. Embarrassed, I admitted my clumsiness and explained about the now headless man. She commented, “Oh, that’s too bad. We need all the wise men.” As I mumbled something in return, her comment got me to thinking. In this day and age, when troubles abound around the world and in the hearts of many, we certainly do need all the wise men.

When I told her that I would be happy to pay for the Nativity set, the sales associate told me that it would not be necessary. Then she added, “Good thing you didn’t kill Jesus.” I stared at her and marveled at the profound yet contradictory statement that she had just shared. She looked back at me, realizing that there was something more to what she had said but unable to put it into words.

I Did Kill Jesus

After a prolonged pause, I responded sadly, “But I did. I did kill Jesus. So did you. We do it almost every day, don’t we?”

She shook her head and acknowledged, “Uh, I guess you are right. Well, um, Merry Christmas,” and she wandered off, contemplating what had just transpired.

I carried the Nativity scene to the checkout counter for the manager to see and again explained what had happened. When I told him that I would be willing to pay for it if necessary, even though the sales associate had told me I did not have to, he replied, “Thank you. That won’t be necessary. We have a provision for brokenness.”

As I looked at the clay figurines in the wooden display, I realized that God was trying to speak to me through this experience. In the haste of the day, in the rush of the season, He again reminded me that although I had indeed killed Jesus, He was the provision for my brokenness. God had already known my need and had planned in love by giving His Son, the Greatest of gifts. The gifts of both the Son and salvation are free.

It was, indeed, a Merry Christmas.

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By John Baxter. Reprinted with persmission from Signs of the Times, December 2006. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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