After a recent trip to the grocery store, it appeared that we had bitten off more than we could chew.
Sure…we expected the tab to run a bit higher than usual, what with several holiday dinners to provision. Multiple batches of Christmas cookies had to be baked this week as well – so down almost every aisle, we were loading an unusual something or other into the basket.
And yes, it’s truly a blessing, to have so much bounty at our beck and call. Which is what I tried to remind myself – when my first instinct was to grumble – as the check-out clerk announced the princely sum that would be required in order to exit the store.
The scanner beeps had been going at a furious pace only moments before, far too quickly for mere mortals to keep tabs. Indeed, by the time we were done packing everything into bags…one shopping basket had morphed into two…so on some level, it wasn’t too surprising that the total snuck past the $300 mark. (Kinda reminded me of when we still had teenagers in the house…)
When we arrived home, however, my Sweetie spotted an anomaly: Instead of being charged for three pounds of butter, we’d been rung up for 33. A whopping $115.17 in butter’s worth, all told.
Which is to say, a bit more butter than we bargained for – and ultimately, rather difficult to swallow.
While things were quickly rectified upon a return trip to the store, I was reminded of this incident when I reflected on another sort of extravagance we encounter in the gospel this week – the fourth week of Advent.
We’ve heard the story so many times before that it can escape our notice, just how much was being asked of Joseph and Mary. Expecting perhaps to begin a simple small-town life together, they got rung up for something quite a bit more:
Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared … in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
A blessing of breathtaking proportions, if you think about it, that both Mary and Joseph said “yes” to the angel’s invitation. Each of us is the “butter” for it – for their unwavering trust in divine providence.
Setting their fears aside, they helped set salvation in motion.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.