It is the fourth week leading up to Christmas. In some homes a candle will be lit as hearts are bowed to consider the theme of Love. While we won’t be lighting a candle, I am filled to overflowing with renewed understanding of God’s love.
This Thanksgiving we were blessed to host both of our moms (from Florida), our daughter (from Texas) our son, his wife and our three awesome granddaughters. Traditionally, when we manage to be together as a family anytime near the holidays, we celebrate Christmas early. It may be a faux Christmas, but it still gets plenty of attention, which means Christmas décor goes up days before guest arrive (I am not complaining, I would put up décor in October if the hubby would let me).
We wrapped ourselves in the sweet chaos of a house filled with multiple generations. My heart was full! At some point in the festivities, I noticed baby Jesus was missing.
We have two nativity sets. One is from when our kids were little. Its resin figurines have withstood many years of being handled as our kids, and now our grandkids, rearranged the stable scene regularly. Our other Nativity is from when I was a little girl. For as long as I can recall, my parents allowed me to set up this wooden hay filled stable. I have fond memories of strategically placing each plastic nativity participant. Because of its age, we do not encourage little ones to play with it, but we also do not panic if curious fingers inspect its contents. This was the case when Parker, our 3yr old granddaughter cradled the tiny baby Jesus and declared his name was not Jesus, “His name is Love”.
After a days of feasting, gifting, movie watching and playing I noticed the little manger was bare. “Has anyone seen the baby Jesus?” I called out to the family. Nope. Oh well, I knew it would turn up, so I delayed the search and rescue. On the final night of their visit, my husband established a reward. “$20 to whoever finds baby Jesus!” The next hour was filled with a hilarious hunt for baby Jesus, pitting grandmothers, grandchildren and great-granddaughters against one another for the prize. Everyone was busy searching…everyone except Parker, who continued to quietly sit at the table playing with her playdough. We knew she was the last one seen with baby Jesus…cue her mommy sitting down beside her and starting a gentle interrogation:
Mommy: Parker, do you know where baby Jesus is?
Mommy: are you sure?
Mommy: you played with it earlier, are you sure you don’t remember where you put it?
Parker: Oh, you mean Baby Love? (OOOOOHHHHH a collective understanding filled the room)
Parker: Baby Love is taking a nap in the bed.
Competitive “baby Jesus” hunters rushed the doll bed…sure enough, tucked beneath the bedding was little baby Love….and THAT is how a new Miller Christmas tradition called find “Find Baby Love” was started. (We intend to recreate a version of this each year)
It is also a wonderful reminder to not loose baby Jesus in the midst of Christmas chaos. The greatest revealing of God’s love for us can be found in a manger…not hidden. This week may we all be “Baby Jesus hunters” …. finding God’s love in the beauty of His creation and the grace and forgiveness He offers us through Jesus Christ His son.
“This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1John 4:10)