We have a new game around our house. “Where is Baby Jesus?” With Q everywhere and into everything, we find my whisk in the bathroom, his bath toys under his crib, a kitchen towel in our closet, and a plastic hammer in the pots and pans drawer. Last weekend we set up his small, kid-version nativity scene, given to him by his grandparents as a reminder of the importance of Nov. 30—his baptismal day—and the coming season—advent. And in that nativity scene is baby Jesus. Only every time we go to play with it…Jesus isn’t there. Q has chucked him, put him, shoved him, laid him, smooshed him…somewhere. So we spend the next 10 minutes walking around the house with our hands raised in question asking “Where is baby Jesus?” And yesterday as I did that for the second time with Q, I thought about how similar this is to life. We put Jesus somewhere, usually behind something…a to-do list and busyness, a relationship, emotions, material goods, a job. And then we look around into our difficult situations and relationships and wonder, why isn’t this working? Where is Jesus? Why isn’t He helping?
The good news of Christmas though is that Jesus came to us in a manger in a lowly stable so that he could be everywhere, not just somewhere. He infuses a needy world with his hope, grace, and peace. He is Emmanuel, God with us. Right here.
Where is baby Jesus? In our house, He’s behind the garbage, in the tub, going down the slide, between the couch cushions and under the rug. Rarely is He in the stable. And in our daily lives, He’s not just in church on Sunday mornings. He’s in our dark fears, our quiet desires, our toughest challenges and our biggest hurts. We need only look...not for Him but to Him.
Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!