"Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.'" Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT)
Our family has a tradition we've kept running for over 20 years. Every December, we pick a night to enjoy barbecue chicken pizza and peppermint stick ice cream. Then we pile in our old tan Buick and venture off to look at the area's Christmas lights. A snow flurry is always a plus and makes the bright lights dance in the distance.
When our kids were young, they'd each pick a story character to look for in the decorations. They'd keep a running tally of what they saw amongst the seasonal displays. Kenna might look for snowmen, Mitchell for reindeer. And Spencer loved to discover a green Grinch or two. Whoever picked the most frequently spied character won a small prize.
Our family tradition evokes sweet memories for this mom. However, there was one troubling aspect of our yearly adventure. No matter how hard we searched, we rarely discovered a nativity display with the Christ child lying in a manger.
Yes, secular characters brought giggles to our wide-eyed, pajama-footed children, but the main person of the holiday—the whole point of Christmas—was seldom to be found. We did locate a few homes that displayed a nativity, but we had to search diligently for them.
As we go through December we, can easily be inundated with responsibilities. While trying our best to "get it all done," it is easy to miss the Christmas Child. We scurry and scamper to put on a big bash while practically ignoring the One whose birthday it really is.
Let's purpose that this year we'll search for Jesus carefully and diligently just as the wise men did in Matthew 2:1-2:
"Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.'" (NLT)
These wise men left their daily duties, homes, and studies and went out of their way, traveling many, many miles on camelback through the dry desert, to find Jesus. Like these men, we need to break away from our routines and busyness to take time to look for the Christ Child.
It might mean stopping in the midst of shopping to sit quietly in our car, praying that God will help us center our thoughts on Jesus more than holiday tasks. Or perhaps it will require us to put down our to-do list in order to pick up our Bible to read and absorb the account of Jesus' miraculous birth.
However it looks, let's search carefully for the Christ Child. He's there in the middle of the hustle and bustle. When we find Him, let's not keep the wonder of His love to ourselves. We can share it. Serve others. Bless intentionally. And lift our eyes (and those of our children too) off of ourselves and on to the real reason for Christmas.
Dear Lord, help me to intentionally seek and find You just like the wise men did. May I share the love You give with those I encounter this season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What fond traditions do you have of Christmas as a child? How can you build new traditions today that center on Christ and teach others to do the same?
Grab your kids or some friends and head off on an adventure of blessing. Call a homeless shelter or nursing home to ask what needs they have, whether it be coats, blankets, food, cheer, etc. Whatever you do, leave a handwritten note for the recipient that declares, "Jesus came to earth briefly to live with us so that we could go to heaven to live forever with Him. Merry Christmas!!"
Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (ESV)
Luke 2:11-12, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." (ESV)
© 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105