Once Upon a Frog

We got to the church an hour before Christmas Eve communion. There was preparation to be done. The poinsettias needed to be watered and the candles lit. The bread was cut into tiny cubes, the juice poured into tiny sip-sized cups and placed into a brass tray. Finally, the trays were carried to the table in front of the altar to await the congregation. And as I put away the offering plates—they wouldn’t be used tonight—I saw an interesting addition to the lovely porcelain nativity scene that sat on the altar table: a small black and blue plastic frog.

Froggy sat three or four inches away from a flock of porcelain sheep, presided over by a weary-looking porcelain shepherd, and facing the smiling porcelain Christ-child. He obvious didn’t belong with this crowd and chuckling, I scooped Froggy up to pass him along to the little guy that I’m pretty sure is his owner. The pianist, her assistant and I had a good laugh about it and then the scene was put out of our minds.

I’ve always had trouble staying still and focused during church services—no matter how moving, poignant, funny, or fabulous the speaker. But Christmas Eve communion is a little different. The lights are low, the candles glowing, and the piano playing gently in the background. I look into the lights on the Chrismon tree and the advent candles, and I can’t help but get pulled into the peace and rest of the moment. And in the quiet, I think. And I believe that God speaks in those quiet moments.

And tonight, He told me that I’m like that little black and blue plastic frog…

The frog sat just on the outside of the scene. He knew he was different. The sheep, the shepherd and the angels all knew he was different. And this is how I have always felt. I have always felt like the dull, plastic frog in a world full of beautiful porcelain creatures. I’ve always stood back a little bit, hoping to see the excitement, but not ever feeling like I’m part of it.

The difference between me and that little black and blue plastic frog is that the Christ-child doesn’t see me as being different. To Him, I’m not an outsider. I’m not a dull, fake object. I’m not excluded. I’m part of the family.

And so are you.

Merry Christmas from me—a little black and blue plastic frog who is very loved and who loves you very much.

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. I have been very close to tears tonight and now I just read this and here they come. Sarah I could have written this. You just wrote my story. Sending you love and hugs.

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Nancy, you are loved! And in 32 days, I’ll give you a whopper of a hug! 🙂

  3. Thanks for this, Sarah. You’ve spoken out loud what I’ve thought about myself all my life. It took a long time for me to realize that it wasn’t a bad thing to be the different one, the one on the outside. And to accept it. And to believe that He sees me the way you have described, not just saying it – believing it. Feels good. Sending you love.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Lovely story, beautifully written. You’d be surprised how many of us feel like outsiders even when we seem to be in the midst of things.

    Best Wishes to you all!

  5. Sarah Salter says:

    Barb, you’re exactly right! Different isn’t always bad. It’s hard to accept that sometimes. But it helps to have friends that celebrate my different-ness. 😉

    Love you muchly! Merry Christmas!

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Farha, thank you for the encouragement to finish the story and get it posted tonight. And thank you for stopping by to read the finished product. I hope your Christmas is the merriest and that each of your days is a gift. 🙂

  7. Kerri (Earringopia) says:

    I’m touched by your story. It speaks to me through every part of my life because I’ve spent so much of my life feeling like I wanted to be “normal” like everyone else and always be on the inside. And it really speaks to me today. We had an incident with someone parking in someone else’s space today (these things get heated when people pay prettily for their little patch of concrete). Since I was the management person, I had to fade into the background and listen and keep people on track and get things straightened out and back on track. What was interesting was that I wasn’t on the outside, and the folks involved were on the outside, like the little blue and black frog. In fact, they had acted like very naughty little blue and black frogs, were sorely embarassed, and I think we all left the situation like were all back on the inside and not left standing on the outside.

    I guess in the end what I’ve figured out from today and after reading Sarah’s story is that we’re all outsiders and insiders, and we change back and forth in those roles sometimes from minute to minute. It helped me to see all this unfold and know that I’m just a normal old human being, insider or outsider, and that the best thing I can do is to reach out to those around me and make us all feel like insiders.

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    Kerri, I love this: “the best thing I can do is to reach out to those around me and make us all feel like insiders.” Yes! Perfectly true and wonderful! And that’s what you do. I love you, my friend! Merry Christmas!

  9. Kerri (Earringopia) says:

    Love you too, Sarah, and all the dear ones who’ve commented here and on Twitter. It’s good to have each other!

  10. Sarah Salter says:

    Kerry, I’ve learned that “family” isn’t limited by DNA, nor by distance. You’re very close in my heart!

  11. Thank you, Sarah. Note that the angels, shepherds, wise man, Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus are ALL different–from each other. Just like Paul’s analogy about the body and the body of Christ, we aren’t supposed to all be elbows–or angels. I think the little frogs are sometimes there for accent, for zest, for a meditative pause, for sweet comic relief, or to give personality to the porcelain scene.

  12. Sarah Salter says:

    Jessica, I love the thought that the little frogs are there for “accent, zest” etc… Yeah. I really like that! Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  13. Merry Christmas, Sarah.

    And we are all little frogs.

  14. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank you, Glynn! Merry Christmas to you, my froggy friend! 🙂

  15. I was thinking what Glynn said. Everybody thinks that at times (or all the time), but we are all loved! Great reminder. Thanks Sarah. 🙂

  16. Thanks, Ms. Froggy – we are spiritual amphibians, after all 🙂

    Hugs!!

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