At this very moment, a decapitated camel rests in forlorn fashion on my kitchen counter!
The camel is headless and I am heartbroken!
I stand before you, the witless culprit of the dastardly deed. Yes, I alone bear responsibility for the breaking of the camel's neck! Such Shame!
A new nativity set beautifully graced our buffet throughout the 2012 season. My joy soared each time I looked at it. As we started putting away the decorations today, I (being the most careful member of the "put away team") offered to dis-assemble the new nativity.
I exercised such caution! I paused to relish the colors and movement of porcelain clothing. I carefully brushed away any dust that had dared to accumulate. I thrilled as each member of the creche neatly found itself once again tucked into its assigned spot in the styrofoam protector.
Unfortunately, Mr. Camel doesn't have an assigned spot. Mr. Camel actually came to the manger scene as a later addition. A piece of plastic and a lowly grocery bag serve as his annual covering. And so it was that the moment came for me to slip the carefully wrapped beast of burden into the box.
But the only slipping that took place was Mr. Camel slipping from my clumsy fingers to the floor!
My loud gasp could not save Mr. Camel! The break was quick! Clean! And thanks to the plastic, contained! I opened the packaging only to reveal what I already knew - I now have a headless camel!
Frank hurried from the other room. He glanced at the two pieces of porcelain held in my hands; the sad expression on my face. Then he asked (in typical detective fashion) the question that drives every wife to despair - "What happened?!"
Fortunately, my wonderful husband does have ceramic glue and massive amounts of patience! I dare say that by morning Mr. Camel will be whole once again.
Why all the fuss? (Did you think that?)
Well, the nativity has sentimental value for me.
I purchased it at the estate sale of the Kiser's home this past spring. Some of you may remember the precious older couple I wrote about early last year. The Kisers celebrated 62 years of marriage. Then Hilda passed away in February and Ralph followed his bride just six weeks later.
Frank and I only had the privilege of knowing them in their sunset years. Such a precious couple. Ralph, a fighter pilot in his younger days, regaled Frank with military stories. Hilda carried herself with the air of an officer's wife right up until the time she became bedridden.
Alzheimer's had stolen her spunky personality. But one didn't have far to look in her home before seeing signs of the organizer. The talented seamstress. The fabulous chef. The impeccable housekeeper. The doting mother/grandmother. The Christ follower.
I'd been looking for an additional nativity and gladly purchased the one that had graced the Kiser home so many years.
While unpacking it for display last month, I noticed that Hilda had carefully numbered the bottom of each piece. She had then written the identifying number on the storage spot reserved for that piece. Meticulous!
Not one of Hilda's nativity pieces was glued. Not a single wise man's head. Not a staff or lantern of Joseph. Not a delicate hand of Mary. Not even a finger of the Infant bears signs of breakage.
Her ages-old creche spoke to me of character issues Hilda could no longer teach. "A little extra care goes a long way!" Rest assured that I heard her message clearly as I unpacked the nativity this season. I determined to keep this set in pristine condition.
And that's why the broken camel was such a BIG, hairy deal for me! Again I say, SIGH!!
Okay, so meticulous doesn't head my personality giftings list. No one has called me a fabulous chef - ever! And now, my poor camel (formerly known as Hilda's perfect camel) will show definite signs of slippage for all the future generations.
But David assured me in Psalm 145 that as long as I'm telling the next generation about the greatness of God in whatever way I'm given - that will be enough! Headless camel and all!
Ah, the timeless messages of grace and hope!
Happy New Year to you, dear readers! May His Grace and Hope fill each day of 2013 for you!