The Year Baby Jesus was Missing

December 24, 2019

You know what I think really makes Christmas extra fun? Kids – little kids!

So, as you may remember, we are empty nesters, which is a little sad, especially at Christmas, but we DO have grandkids – 4 of them. 3 older ones and a 1-year-old, Lydia. The truth is, our grandkids are most likely going to come in “shifts;” I guess that’s what happens when you have 5 kids, ranging in age from 22 to 37. Probably by the time the last one has kids, our Christmas will be spent with visits from the grandkids to the “retirement home” – you know, singing carols, passing out candy canes, etc.  Anyway, at the moment we are really enjoying having a baby to spoil again.

When the first 3 littles were, well, little, I bought a Fisher Price Nativity Set for them to play with. Peyton was 4 and Greenlee and Charlotte were 2. They loved it! Fast forward to 2019 and Lydia was at the house the other day, so I got the Nativity Set out for her to play with and it brought to mind a funny memory…

Charlotte, Lydia’s big sis, lived about 5 minutes from us the year I bought the Nativity Set, was at our house a lot and loved to play with the set.  She was immediately taken with the Baby Jesus. She carried Him around with her all through the house. I knew right away it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between the two of them.

On one visit that year with Charlotte, when it was time to pick up toys, I noticed that the Baby Jesus wasn’t with the rest of the nativity pieces. So, I asked her,

“Where is Baby Jesus?”

She looked at me, then at the nativity set, then back at me and said,

“He’s gone.”

I said, “What do you mean He’s ‘gone?’”

“He’s just gone,” she said.

“Well, we need to find Him!” I said, “You can’t have a nativity set without the Baby Jesus. He’s the most important part!”

We looked for a while. No Baby Jesus. I kept looking over the next few days: under the couch, in the toy closet, in the dryer, (yes, I’ve found toys in the dryer following visits from the grandkids.) Still, no Baby Jesus. So, our Fisher Price nativity set was missing its main character for a good chunk of that Christmas season.

Honestly, when I look around me today, Jesus seems to be missing in a lot of places. Many of our nation’s leaders don’t seem to have a place for him while they strive to guide us. Jesus is clearly missing from our country’s public schools and the effects of his absence are painfully obvious.

Jesus appears to be missing from many of our homes today as well. For too many, He’s become a name in a book, this guy who lived a long time ago, but really doesn’t have much of an impact on individual lives or families today. So many people really don’t know Him; don’t realize what He’s done, the great sacrifice He made or the great love He has for them.

Sadly, Jesus is even missing in some of our churches today. Some churches seem to have forgotten to love – and not just its members, but strangers, foreigners, those who are really struggling; all of which are so very important to God.

And, yes, even at Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ birthday often doesn’t seem to “make the cut,” when it comes to holiday priorities. There’s so much emphasis on decorating, baking, and finding the “perfect gift,” when, honestly, THE perfect gift is sometimes forgotten.

Now, don’t get me wrong; you guys know how much I love Christmas – all of it: the parties, the decorating, the cooking, the baking, the EATING, the wrapping, the music – but, as wonderful as all of that is, Christmas is about so much more.

The thing is, just like our nativity set, Christmas without Jesus just isn’t right; it’s incomplete. It has no purpose, no real meaning. It’s like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the peanut butter; or a cheeseburger without the cheese. Something’s just wrong without Him.

Jesus should be the main attraction, not only at Christmas, but every day of our lives. He’s the protagonist, the headliner, the hero. What I’m trying to say is, without Jesus Christ in the great, big middle of your life, what’s the point?

Well, you’ll be happy to know that the Baby Jesus did eventually resurface that year and my sweet Lydia got to play with Him and carry Him around, just like her cousins and big sis did when they were little. And, if I get my way, ALL of my grandkids will carry that Baby Jesus around – even if it’s down the hall of my retirement home.

So, Christmas is here; celebrate and spend time with loved ones, open beautifully wrapped packages of the most wished for surprises, and eat way more than you eat any other time of the year. But more than anything, I hope that if you don’t know where Jesus is in your life, look for Him. He’s right there, waiting for you to discover Him. If you’ve already found Him, just like Charlotte, take Him with you wherever you go and hold Him close. Because just like the nativity set, your life is just not going to be right without Him.

O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!

O come ye, o come ye, to Bethlehem!

Come and behold Him, born the King of angels

O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

and above all else love