Where was He? I looked around in the mass of crumpled tissue and packing materials, went back through the boxes of already packed up ornaments. I rechecked the other nativity boxes. I got down on hands and knees and peered under every piece of furniture. He was nowhere to be found!
Now this is where I expose the fact that I am not a great mother. Not by a long shot. I start yelling and fussing at my children to stop their present inferior and unimportant activities, even if those activities may be Godly ones like reading their new Bible storybook or their young men’s devotional book, in order to GET IN HERE AND HELP ME FIND THE BABY JESUS! Now my “Momma Logic” reasons that since, 1. I do not play with the toy manger set and 2. One of them was the last one to handle Him, that one of them must be to blame for his current missing status and therefore my current state of frantic frustration.
Don’t they know how much work decorating and undecorating is? Don’t they know that their careless misplacing of THE key piece of the whole shebang is stalling my progress and throwing my meticulously organized schedule to the wind? How dare they lose something as important as the Sweet Baby Jesus? What kind of mother has kids who lose the Star of Bethlehem? What kind of mother is flushed and ranting like a lunatic at her children about the Christ, rather than acting like Him?
That would be me.
After minutes of tense silence and clenched jaw while I simmered, Charlotte Rose squeals joyously while triumphantly brandishing the tiny babe lying in the plastic manger in her tiny little fist. She has been victorious and has saved the day, all while beating her brother to the punch. She beams as she proffers the baby and says sweetly, “Look, Mommy, he was in the sofa the whole time. I don’t know what you were so upset about. You said Jesus lives in our hearts and we should always act like he is in there. I guess maybe he got tired of being stuck in there and hopped on the couch!”
From the mouths of babes, wisdom does flow! I was rocked. I smiled at her, gave her a big kiss and sat back on the floor, humbled and ashamed. I had yelled and acted like a crazy person over a small piece of plastic, when I was missing the whole point. At that moment, I realized Jesus was missing all right, but it wasn’t from a cardboard box full of plastic toy figures. Jesus had temporarily gone missing from my heart.
How often do we get so caught up in the chores and clean up, the removing of the outward signs of the holidays, that we remove the celebrated One from our hearts as well? While busy stowing the decorations in the attic for next year, do we pack away the Savior too? This Christmas I am considering leaving the kids’ manger set out all year for her to play with. Maybe if He stays unpacked all year I will have a visual reminder of the time we had to almost put out an Amber Alert for Him. And maybe if she plays with Him all year, my daughter will know that, although He loves being in our hearts, He is welcome to hang out in the sofa sometimes too.
From my crazy household to yours, we wish you peace and blessings this Christmas.
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