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Robert Fulghum in It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It, tells a story involving his daughter, Molly. One day, as Fulghum was ready to leave for work, Molly handed him two brown paper sacks. In one was his lunch. What was in the other was a mystery. When Fulghum asked Molly what was in the mystery bag, she said, "Just some stuff—take it with you." At lunch time, Fulghum tore open the mystery bag, Dumping the contents onto his desk. The contents

consisted of: two hair ribbons, three small stones, a plastic dinosaur, a pencil stub, a tiny seashell, two animal crackers, a marble, a used

lipstick, a small doll, two chocolate kisses, and thirteen pennies.

Later in the day, when Fulghum was cleaning off his desk before going home, he wiped the contents of Molly’s bag into the waste basket. As he said, "There wasn’t anything in there I needed." That evening Molly asked where her bag was. He told her he had left it at his office, and asked, "why?" Molly said, "Those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like—I thought you might like to play with them, but now I want them back.

You didn’t lose the bag did you, Daddy?"

"Those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like." To Fulghum the hair ribbons, small stones, pencil stub, a used lipstick and all the rest did not seem like much. To Molly, they were her most priceless treasures. The things she loved the most. But Fulghum did not have the sight to see their true value.

Long ago some shepherds left their fields and made their way to a stable. When they looked into the manger they saw a very ordinary baby wrapped in swaddling cloths. Whether the baby was sleeping, crying, or cooing, we are not told. But the shepherds saw something more, something which others who were gathered with Mary and Joseph apparently did not see. In this baby in the manger the shepherds saw none other than the One in whom all God’s people find joy and peace, just as the angels had told them. The shepherds had heard the promise, had believed the promise, and in believing saw more than met the ordinary eye. In Jesus they saw the One in whom we have joy and peace.

1. Donald L. Deffner, Seasonal Illustrations, Resources, 1992, p. 16-17

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