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.