One Christmas, my mother couldn’t find Baby Jesus; he was missing from her Nativity set. She suspected my sweet little boy, so she announced that she must have lost Jesus, but would give a quarter to anyone who could return him to the manger. Within two minutes, Mom’s precious grandson had recovered the missing piece to the Nativity, earned twenty-five cents and all was well.

In a scene from New in Town (hilarious movie), a sweet well-meaning Minnesota lady asks Renee Zellweger, “So, have you found Jesus?” With a smirk, Renee replies, “I didn’t realize he was missing.”

This year more than ever I have questioned my Christmas motives. I almost feel like a wedding guest who goes to a wedding just for the yummy food, good music, and a chance to dress up and dance.

I love Christmas. Who doesn’t? I’m just struggling to connect it all to Christ somehow. My favorite traditions are a comfort to me, but when I take an honest look into my heart, is it all in celebration of Christ or something different?Family and giving and all things warm and bright are great, but is it for Jesus? I feel like Jesus is missing.

I want my Christmas to be a true celebration of the light that came into this world, into my life. More than anything, I want to be drawn to the same hope that the wise men and shepherds followed. And somehow, I want to bring him a gift instead of making a wish list on Amazon. Even crazier, I want those living in darkness to see Jesus alive and well in my heart and home.

How? That is the question I am asking this Christmas. Are there new traditions our family could begin to focus our hearts toward him? Is there something we could change to make our home more inviting to the Spirit of God? Could we make our gift giving more honoring to Jesus? What can we do to better celebrate the most precious gift ever given?

If you are looking for answers, I have only begun to ask the questions myself. I just know that Christmas has been a huge effort to please my family and children, to shop enough, bake enough, wrap enough, and decorate enough. If this sounds like a confession, perhaps it is. Honestly, my focus each Christmas has been  getting it all done.

Now, I find myself asking why? Why am I doing all of this? Maybe none of it needs to change, only my heart.

This is a conversation I may have with my family as Christmas quickly approaches. My children, almost all teenagers might just have a good perspective. I want them to know my heart, to know that putting out our Nativity set is not the only way I want to honor our Savior this year. I want them to know, that as much joy as I experience giving them gifts, there is greater joy to be found in Him.

I have a feeling that next Christmas might be different. I’m praying that I’ll be different. Baby Jesus has never really been missing, only overlooked.

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.  At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.  Luke 2:11-14 The Message



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