Today I am packing up Christmas.
It's funny how pretty the red and green looks everywhere before Christmas and afterwards it seems to lose it's appeal. (Is that just me?) I love the lights and sometimes find that after the tree and the garland comes down and the ornaments are put away the house looks kind of empty. But then I do like the crispness of January decor.
When I began to pack up our nativity, I realized we never found Jesus.
You see, Bill loves to go to St. Patricks Cathedral when he is in New York City. He has gone to mass, lit a candle and viewed their nativity several times. (He has always said he would make a great Catholic ... he loves liturgy and high church kinds of worship. And he is a saint for going with me to "not so high" church). :)
At St. Patricks, he was struck by the fact that there is no baby in the nativity. The nativity is left empty until Christmas Eve signifying Jesus coming to earth. So Bill decided to leave ours empty too ... in Christmas of 2012. And on 12/24/12 he couldn't find Jesus. Then sometime during the summer of 2013 he found the plastic baby Jesus and thought he would remember this year where he left it.
Only he didn't remember.
And so another year came and went without Jesus in our nativity.
And that means we will look for Jesus again all year.
And there is so much beauty in that sentence that I can hardly stand it.
We "get to" look for Jesus everywhere!!
Jesus is everywhere.
And yet sometimes I think we miss him.
Maybe we miss Him because we aren't looking for Him or maybe we miss Him because we are looking in the wrong places or maybe we are too busy to notice Him.
Certainly He is in His word and we can find Him there.
We need to find Him there.
But don't stop looking for him there! No, he is in the sunshine and the raindrops, the mountains and the valleys.
He is in all of us who call Him our Savior and Lord.
That means people should be able to see Jesus in us!
And during Christmas ... even though we never found the Jesus to go in the Nativity, we found Him in so many other places. Some trivial, some more monumental ... but we found Him.
Some of my favorite reminders of Jesus from this season:
On Christmas Eve a little girl sang at Second Baptist Church in Kingwood. She is the niece of one of our friends. She sang about Jesus being the real gift of Christmas. She was backed by the full adult choir and it was beautiful. The song was "Happy Birthday Jesus". The words say ... "the presents are nice but the real gift is you". And it was beautiful and sweet and precious.
But here is the amazing part .... six years ago that same little girl was left on the steps of an orphanage in Beijing. It was there she was found/rescued and adopted. Rescued from no telling what kind of life. And y'all, THAT IS OUR STORY TOO. That is the work of Jesus. He found us and rescued us and now we can sing for him. People can see Him in our lives.
Seeing the video of her seeing truly made my Christmas Eve. If you want to see it, click here.
Another moment was a man who was in a wheelchair. He was cheerfully calling out to all of us who were heading to the ski slopes ... "Isn't this a beautiful day? Sunny skies! Life couldn't be better!".
And how fabulous is that? He was totally content. And there was Jesus in that moment for me. The man had legs that didn't work but was proclaiming that things couldn't be better. So maybe He wants me to focus less on what isn't right and more on what is right.
He is everywhere. We must look for him.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 says:
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
I like the Message version even better:
When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
13-14 “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.
Here is hoping that you won't be disappointed in 2014. Because when you seek Him, you will find Him.
God's honest truth.
Happy New Year!