A Sunday School was putting on a Christmas pageant which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. A young boy wanted so very much to be Joseph, but when the parts were handed out, he not only didn’t get the part, a boy he disliked was given the part, and he was assigned to be the innkeeper instead.
During the rehearsals he thought what he might do the night of performance to get even with his rival. Finally, during the pageant, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn, and the innkeeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted. Joseph answered, “We’d like to have a room for the night.” Suddenly the innkeeper threw the door open wide and said, “Great, come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house!”
For a few seconds poor little Joseph didn’t know what to do, since that definitely wasn’t in the script. Thinking quickly on his feet, he looked inside the door past the innkeeper, then said, “No wife of mine is going to stay in a dump like this. Come on Mary, let’s go to the barn.” And once again the play was back on track!
Many things conspire to throw us off our discipleship script. This is never more true than at Christmas. Our stewardship calls us to think compassionately, relationally, and wondrously at God and others. It is a time to claim simple truths and discover depths of joy. Society will work hard to throw us off script. The world sees Christ as a rival for our affections and allegiance. The world sees Christ as a rival for our money. The holiday will be aggrandized in a way that makes us think consumerism is the meaning of Christmas, and that “we” and “ours” need the biggest share of it.
Friends, steward your Christmas. Steward it as you do all things in your faith. Keep God in the center. Manage your time, energy, and money around the script of salvation and grace. Live as generously as Jesus lived for us all. And if you get off track, head back to the barn where Jesus lay. For there is the meaning not just of the Christmas story, but the story of all things under God.
Merry Christmas from your United Methodist Foundation.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana