“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?”
(Matthew 2:2 (ESV))
So, the Sayler house is decorated for Christmas. The tree is up, with all of its trimmings (including brand new working lights – that’s another story). The garland hangs from the fireplace mantel; the stockings are there too, awaiting a visit from jolly old Saint Nick. I even managed to get the lights up outside before the wind and cold set in, which is saying something for living in NW Iowa.
Of all the decorations that we have out for Christmas, I think the little boys’ favorite must be the “Little People Nativity Set.” It’s a little play set nativity, complete with Wise Men, Shepherd, various livestock, and of course, Mary and Baby Jesus (curiously, no Joseph – must have gone to the store for diapers). The boys love to play with the figures of the nativity, right alongside their toy Superman, Batman, and other Super Heroes. More than once I’ve seen the Son of Man, nestled in the manger, flying side by side with the Man of Steel – I’m so proud.
The one downside is, there are so many pieces, they tend to go missing throughout the day. At lunch, supper, and bed time, we have a family search for the missing characters. Recently, the most notoriously lost seems to be baby Jesus. My house is beginning to sound like a Baptist revival. “Have you found Jesus?” “I found him, I found Jesus!”
Sometimes Jesus is hidden under the couch or radiator. Other times he’s under the piles of Christmas Story books that get put out on the coffee table this time of year. Then sometimes Jesus get hidden in toy baskets, under coats, and amongst the other clutter of the house.
As we were once again searching for the Christ child last night, I began to realize this was a great lesson for us as adults. Is Jesus missing from your Christmas? Have you found Him? Are you even looking? Did you even notice he was missing?
Sometimes Jesus gets buried under the furious rush to find all the right presents, getting the Christmas cards written and mailed, and having the decorations just right. Sometimes Jesus gets lost in all the busyness and chaos of a season that is supposed to be a celebration of the coming of the Prince of Peace. All too often, without even thinking about it, we just push Jesus off to the side of our celebration, “I’ve got too much going on to worry about all that religious stuff too!”
At the risk of sounding cliché, it is so important that we keep Christ in Christmas. If we can’t keep Jesus at the center of our Christmas celebration, is it really Christ’s mass? If we can’t spend the Advent season developing a longing and expectation for the return of our King, will we ever? If we lose Jesus at Christmas, how will we ever hope to find him throughout the rest of the year?
My encouragement to you this Christmas, and anytime throughout the year, is keep searching for Jesus. Watch for Him, wait for Him. See where He is missing in your life, and search for Him as if your life depended on it. Turn to the Scriptures to hear His word again; His word of life, of hope, of righteousness and peace. Repent and confess of those things which you have put before Christ, which have kept you from the joy of obedience to your Lord. Make worship, privately and corporately, a priority, so that you may find yourself where Christ has promised to meet us.
My prayer is that in all of your celebrations this season, you will find Jesus again and again. That would really be a Merry Christmas.