It was a simple plan: leave a piece of a nativity set at the doorstep of an unsuspecting recipient on each of the twelve nights preceding Christmas.
Last Saturday, Mary was first to go.
On Sunday morning we celebrated our supposed success and spoke of how Joseph would be next.
Then we compared notes and discovered the awful truth.
Mary had been delivered to the wrong address.
Eyes were wide, mouths too. How could this have happened? The intended recipients needed the nativity. They had to have it. That's the way we'd planned it. And, Joseph had to have a wife, the Christ child a mother.
We had no choice.
We had to kidnap Mary.
We didn't know the people at the wrong address. We rationalized they probably wouldn't even want a nativity, or a lone Mary. Amidst our scheming to get her back--yes, so and so will be the perfect person to ask them to return her. I'm sure they'll understand it was all a mistake--someone in our group felt inspired to present a differing opinion: What if it wasn't a mistake after all? What if we were supposed to take Mary to that address? What if the person there needed her?
We mulled it over and felt embarrassed. Asking for Mary back implied we thought the people at the wrong address weren't as deserving--as important--as those we had intended to give her to.
A few questions to others in the area and a short time later we were humbled to discover that by any standard--mortal or heavenly--the people who had received Mary very much needed her. Those who knew them, we found, had been praying that their lives would be blessed and their hearts somehow touched by the Christmas spirit.
A second nativity was purchased.
The Joseph from the first nativity went to join his Mary that night.