This advent season, I am posting a blog from one of my favorite people, Gordana Miletic Sjostedt, a beautiful writer with insights much more profound than mine. If you’d like to follow her wise ponderings, her blog is called “Second Cup of Coffee” and can be found at http://hiswriter66.blogspot.com/.
During our recent visit to my husband’s family, my sister-in-law, who is the incarnation of care and sensitivity to the needs of others (qualities which for some reason seem strangely lacking in our little family), suggested that she and I decorate Mom’s and Dad’s place for Christmas. Neither of them has the health and energy for that kind of endeavor, and it would make their home more cheery and festive during the long, and sometimes lonely holiday season. Kids jumped at the idea, looking for any excuse to get away from the grueling vacation homework drills. The decorating party got quickly on the way with moving the furniture around to make room for the tree and getting the boxes with ornaments out of the garage. The kids carefully took them out, unwrapped each of them, celebrating the unveilings as if it’s Christmas already. The process went on for a while when they came across a tiny royal looking figurine.
This doesn’t look like an ornament, announced my observant daughter. It doesn’t have a hook.
Oh, it’s a part of the nativity scene, darling, responded my mother-in-law. You know, I had that set all these years, and I never set it up. If you like it and think you can use it, you should just take it with you.
Since free offers is rarely passed in our family, the kids excitedly unwrapped the rest of the pieces – the sheep and the donkeys, Mary and Joseph, the remaining two wise men, a shepherd and a shepherdess.
Where is baby Jesus? I asked suspiciously.
Hmm, it looks like He’s missing…
We all dived into the box filled with tissue paper, but no Jesus was found.
Jesus is missing, I told my mother-in-law. How strange… maybe that’s why you never set it up – it’s defective. Imagine that, Christmas without Jesus…
My words lingered for a few moments before silence settled on the room.
Hon… you don’t have to imagine… just look around – it’s all over the place.
I sat slowly down, sobered by the thought. In real life, just like in the defective nativity scene, more often than not Jesus is missing from Christmas. We may have all the other props in place, even the sheep and the donkeys, but the heart of the stage of history remains empty. The solemn admonition of the incomplete set inched a bit too close to home.
Mom, mom!!! We found Him! I was jolted out of my reveries by the excited screams of my children who obviously didn’t give up on their search.
We found Jesus!
May you and I, like the children who wouldn’t give up the quest until it is completed, also find Jesus at the heart of not only Christmas but also at the heart of every day before and after.