Tuesday morning, a coworker came to my desk. “Melissa,” he said, “did you know you have a flat tire?”
“What?!” I responded. “Are you serious?”
“Yes,” he said. “I wouldn’t joke about that to a pregnant lady at 8:00am.”
I wanted to start crying – I had no idea how I got a flat tire. I had arrived safely at work an hour earlier… but there I was: 35 weeks pregnant, fresh snow on the ground, wearing a skirt, trying to finish a last-minute project for the Superintendent, and now needing to deal with a flat tire in the parking lot at work.
Then my coworker said, “I think I’ll jack up your car, take the tire off, drive it down to Midas, have them fix it, and put it back on for you.”
I stared at him. “Really? You would do that?”
“Yes, of course. Let me have your keys. We’ll get it taken care of.”
Full disclosure: At that moment, I did start crying.
I handed him my keys, thanked him profusely, and tried to return attention to my task at hand.
That coworker came back an hour or so later, handing me the rest of my key ring: “Thought you might want the rest of your keys back. Not sure what you did, but your tire was totally flat. We found the hole and everything. It was pretty big, but nothing was in the tire. We aired it up real quick and drove it to Midas. They should be able to pop it off, patch it, and put it back on. We thought that would be easier than us taking it on and off in the parking lot. They’ll call when it’s done.”
I thanked him and said I’d go pick it up when it’s done so I could pay for it. But after lunch, I returned to my desk to see my key sitting there already. I found my coworker and asked how much I owed him for everything and he said, “Nothing. It really isn’t a big deal.”
We went back and forth for a few minutes before I conceded, thanking him profusely, and wanting to cry again.
Grace. Grace and compassion and kindness where it wasn’t necessary, where it was abundantly more than all I could ask or imagine. Grace and compassion and kindness in such excess that it not only filled my flat tire, but my heart as well.
When I think about Christ’s birth, it’s easy to think, “I can’t believe there was no room for Him. No room in the inn, no room for that precious baby and His faithful parents. God should have made sure there was room for His Son!”
But the sweetest gifts seem to be filled with grace and compassion and kindness and somehow also take up the least amount of physical space.
And the best gifts are given space all their own by the recipient, where no one and nothing else should be, to ensure they are treated with the utmost respect, honor, love, and reverence.
I am by no means comparing my flat tire to Christ’s birth. Good grief. But a coworker taking care of my flat tire on a snowy Tuesday morning with grace and compassion and kindness took up very little space in the physical realm and lots of space in my heart…
… Just like Christ coming as a baby with grace and compassion and kindness took up very little space in the physical realm of Bethlehem, relegated to a manger surrounded by hay and animals… but boy, He fills all the space that matters in the universe.
There’s just a week and a half until Christmas. As a family, we are going to intentionally fill that time with grace and compassion and kindness, just like my coworker did and just like God did. Grace and compassion and kindness to one another, to friends, to strangers, to bad drivers on the road.