Archives for December 2011

Video Blog: A Fresh Look at the Familiar

Got about 15 minutes? If so, join me in taking a fresh look at the familar story of a humble Jewish girl, a faithful carpenter, and a baby in a manger one silent, glorious night in Bethlehem . . .

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“I Can’t Find Jesus!”

“I can’t find Jesus!”


I’ll never forget the day my mom frantically turned the house upside-down looking for the baby Jesus that belongs to her glass nativity set. She searched every room, every drawer, and every box of Christmas decorations. She even drilled my sweet (will-do-anything-for-a-good-laugh) little brother to make sure he wasn’t playing some kind of sick joke. But after all the searching and the interrogation, Jesus was still missing. It was quite the mystery, an unexplainable phenomenon, and a real frustration for my mother who takes nativity sets at Christmas time very, very seriously. (I’m exaggerating a little, but only a little.)


Turns out, Jesus was never missing in the first place. As you can see in the picture above, in this particular nativity set, baby Jesus is attached to the manger. However, if the manger is turned upside-down, it appears to be empty. It looks like it needs a baby. And yes folks – that’s how she set it up. We spent hours looking for a baby Jesus that was never really lost. She turned the manger over and voila – baby Jesus magically appeared! (I was in my teens at the time, so you can only image the long, exaggerated eye roll she got from me when this discovery was made.)


I’ve got to be honest. In all the craziness of the Christmas season – the shopping, parties, cookies, programs, decorating, greeting cards, and family memory making – I often can’t find Jesus. It’s not because He isn’t there, of course. It’s because I have a way of turning things upside-down. I make a big deal out of meaningless things and give little attention to the things that really matter. My home gets a lot of attention this time of year, but my heart gets severely neglected. I put an enormous spotlight on the frivolous things that I personally LOVE about this season (hello peppermint mochas, Josh Groban’s Noel CD, Yankee Christmas candles, Williams-Sonoma’s peppermint bark, the all-important yearly viewing of Elf, and lots and lots of white twinkle lights!), but shine a dinky dollar store flashlight on my Savior.


I don’t mean to, of course. I love Jesus. Deeply.  I desperately want to honor Him. I want to really savor the sweetness of the reality that the eternal Word became flesh and dwelt among us. I want my son to know that Jesus is who this holiday is about. My intentions are always very good. But here’s the thing – intentions without actions don’t amount to anything. Who cares if I want to make Jesus the main focus of my life if I don’t do anything to daily renew my mind and re-order the desires of my heart?


So here it is girls.


Are you ready?


I’m about to repeat myself for the 1,678,589th time.


If we want Jesus to be the center of this Christmas, there’s really only one fail-proof way to do that. We have to spend time with Him. We have to refuse to hit that snooze button, drag our sleepy butts out of bed, get off Facebook, turn off the TV, put down that novel or newspaper, surrender the need to make that gazillionth batch of cookies . . . and sit at the feet of Jesus for little while.


We have to read, and ponder, and pray . . .we have to marinate in Jesus until He seasons our souls and flavors our affections. Not because we’ll get into some kind of trouble or disappoint God if we don’t, but because He’s worth the time.


Because He’s a delight to meet with.


Because we can’t do a single eternally significant thing apart from Him.


Because we are helplessly self-serving unless the Spirit is given free reign in our lives.


Because we are absolutely, completely, totally, and utterly dependent on Him for the ability to live by faith and not by sight.


Because we desperately need the wisdom that He alone can give.


And did I mention that He’s worth the time? And a delight to meet with?


So, to keep from “losing” Jesus this season, here’s the challenge for you and me: We have to marinate. We have to soak in God’s Word, commune with our Savior, and resolve to fix our eyes on the true, redemptive, world-changing meaning of Christmas.


Every day.


Or at least most days.


Even when there are cookies to bake and gifts to buy.


Even when there’s a party to host (and a house to clean!).


Even when the calendar is so full it starts to look like one big ink blob.


Even when there’s a deep sadness in our hearts and a longing for Christmas the way it used to be.


Spending time with Jesus is the only way to keep from turning the manger upside-down. It’s our only hope for really, truly “keeping Christ in Christmas.”


“I can’t find Jesus!”


He’s there, sweet sister. You just have to know where to look.

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