”But, oh dear - I gave the little group a cursory check…no Jesus.
I was sure that wasn’t the piece that had been missing last year.
“Great,” I muttered to myself, “we’ve lost Jesus."
We've lost Jesus.
But. Seriously. No Jesus. No manger. No Mary. No Joseph.
The categories at the top of the search included “Movie, Famous, Disney, Costumes, Famous Christmas movie, and Cute.” My inner cynic didn’t want to give up, so I checked under “Famous” because, you know “Christmas”… surely Jesus (Christ!) would show up there.
Scrolled through the entire selection and found two “nativity scenes:” the Simpsons, and one with this tag-“This cool art mashup features popular video game characters mixed with the famous Nativity Scene.” (You don’t want to know.)
But, No Jesus.
I felt relieved. I hadn’t lost him after all.
I’m finding I really have to look closely if I want to find Jesus in all of the holiday hullabaloo, and I know I think/talk/write about this every year; I think I even used "hullaballoo" last year, such a fitting description of all the trappings that have been tinsel-tied onto “Christmas.” (“a very noisy and confused situation; a confused noise, uproar, commotion.”) But I think it is worthwhile to keep looking until we find the One who came, unsought, to lowly folk in a quiet, dark barn (or a noisy inn yard, depending on which commentator you read – but either way, no tree, no lights, no shopping mall. Just Jesus.)
King Herod and his cronies looked and looked,
but they couldn’t find Him.
The wisemen weren’t so smart after all,
and it took them awhile,
and they left a bloody mess in their wake,
but eventually they found Him, and they worshiped.
They weren't. even. looking. for. Jesus. in the first place.
They sat in the dark, heard the news, and ran to find Jesus. They worshiped too.
Maybe mashup is, after all, a good word for my search for Jesus in December…or anytime. When I try to decode a strategy, understand the pattern, I find people seeking Jesus (or not), people finding Jesus (or not.) Layer upon layer of mystery and and seeking and finding.
I see that sometimes Jesus just shows up and is found by people who aren’t really looking for him, and the next time he’s nowhere to be found.
He pauses long where no one expects him, in smelly corners comforting those who sit in darkness.
He occasionally slips out of church and no one notices he’s gone.
He eludes the powerful or calls them by name, saying, “Come.”
He walks along the edges with the wanderers.
He whispers of another path to oppressors in their dreams.
Finding Jesus? It’s a journey of Misery. Cluelessness. Joy. Longing. Anguish. Surprise.
It’s a mashup alright.
And herein I find hope: He seems to come whether people are looking for Him or not.
Or, showing up, and bringing light into our dark and unexpected places.
I stumble and notice him beside me when I didn’t realize how much I needed him. (Was that longing ache a prayer?)
Even when I’m not looking for him, there he is, waiting to be found. I’ve found Jesus. Or, did he find me?
I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
no, I was found of thee.