December 4, 2017 by Katy Epling
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
“Mom, we lost baby Jesus. I can’t find him anywhere!” You’d think this statement would have come from one of my kids, but no, it was me, a 30-something grown-up, calling my mom to cry about a missing Fisher-Price toy. Somehow among the decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping, running to dozens of “can’t miss” events—not to mention the everyday tasks of laundry, cleaning the house, and feeding my crew (THREE TIMES EVERY DAY! They’re so demanding!), baby Jesus was missing! Is he in with the Nerf guns? Did one of the kids stick him down a heating vent? What if the dog got to him? What if the dog ATE baby Jesus??? Surely this was some sort of commentary on my spiritual life, not to mention the example I was setting for my children.
We lost baby Jesus.
It’s funny now, a few years later, my panic over this plastic figurine, one small piece in a room full of toys stuck in (and on) various drawers, shelves, and other organizational tools. But I also think it can be a poignant commentary on Christmas as a whole. Sometimes I look at the chaos that is modern-day Christmas, and I think…
We lost baby Jesus.
I look around the mall, the town, even my own house, and I see ornaments and stockings and trees and pinecones. I look at my calendar and see parties and errands and shopping trips and obligations. Everywhere we turn, Christmas is right in our faces… but where is baby Jesus? I don’t mean this in a “Christmas has become too much about Santa! What about Jesus?” way… I mean this in a “Christmas has become too much about ME! What about Jesus?” way. I get so caught up in the glitz and glimmer, the entertainment and excitement, even the stress and straining, that somewhere along the way, I lose baby Jesus. I get so caught up in the hoopla, I forget the very reason that it all exists… because of a baby who came very quietly into the world unnoticed by most.
He didn’t come in with a royal proclamation and fanfare in the middle of a city-wide celebration. Instead he was born in a quiet nowhere town. His birth was witnessed by farm animals. Jesus came as the child of a scared young mother and a respectable but largely unimportant (by society’s standards) carpenter. He came not to win over the world with his power and might, but to gently love us and humbly restore us. The world then took little notice of that sweet baby boy. Today we plan a month-long celebration all around him… and then lose sight of him in the midst of it.
We found baby Jesus, by the way. My youngest had stuck the figurine in his bed, his own toddler way of protecting this sweet little baby. It was his prized possession, so he gently set it on his own pillow and tucked him in. Baby Jesus hadn’t been forgotten, he had been hidden away like a treasure.
It reminded me of Luke 2:19. Mary had just walked/ridden a donkey for 80 miles. She had given birth in a stable (talk about unsanitary conditions). She had been visited by a very excited crew of dirty, smelly shepherds. Still she didn’t get caught up in the details. Instead, Mary pulled away from the stress of her circumstances, treasured her baby, and rested in the wonder that is Jesus. My sweet boy didn’t want Jesus getting lost or stomped on in the middle of his messy, chaotic room—so he hid him away and treasured him.
This Christmas, let’s not lose Jesus in the mess and chaos of the holiday. Let’s treasure him, ponder him in our hearts, and wonder at him.
This post was excerpted from Finding Jesus: A Christmas Devotional by Katy Epling.