Where is Baby Jesus?
“Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Our home had gone from complete chaos to utter calm in a matter of minutes. The family Christmas celebration had ended, vehicles had been loaded with luggage, and the grandchildren had gone home with their parents. We waved as the caravan drove away. Now the task of cleaning up the remnants of Christmas lay before us.
It wasn’t an overwhelming task. Our children had made sure the toys were put away and the dishes were cleaned up. The wrapping paper ripped from presents was bagged and in the dumpster. Beds were made and sleeping bags were rolled up, returned to the storage room. All that remained to be done was to vacuum the floors, put away the last few dishes, and straighten that which tiny hands had moved.
It was then that we noticed something missing. Actually, two somethings were missing. The manger scene on our hearth was missing its manger and the crèche on the end table was missing – of all things – the Christ Child! Where is baby Jesus?
We searched the house over for the two missing items. We looked under furniture, we emptied the toy bin, we searched through the boxes of table games, we dug through closets . . . we searched everywhere. Puzzled, we took photos of the two manger scenes and inquired of our children if they had any idea where Jesus and His manger might be. Where is baby Jesus?
The answers came trickling in. “Look in the yellow Barbie car. I saw one of the kids playing, putting some pieces of the crèche into it’s trunk.” “Have you looked in the Fischer-Price bus?” “You might want to double check the closet in the back bedroom.”
We continued our search and, sure enough, the manger was tucked into the trunk of the yellow Barbie car. But baby Jesus was nowhere to be found. Again, we checked through the closets, the toy bin, and everywhere we could think of. Where is baby Jesus?
We finally gave up. Exhausted, we abandoned the search and plopped down on the couch, certain that baby Jesus would show up sometime. He had to be in the house somewhere, we reasoned.
Weeks later, it was time to take the lights off the house, remove the ornaments, disassemble the tree, and pack the stockings away. One by one, the decorations were unhung, removed, and put into their resting place in anticipation of next December. As my wife picked up a porcelain church, she noticed a strange rattle inside. Something was inside the church. She turned it on its side and shook the tiny church . . . and what should roll out into her waiting hand? Baby Jesus! Jesus, in church?! Why, we wondered, didn’t we look there in the first place?
When He was twelve years old, His parents searched for Jesus, too. Their caravan had left. It wasn’t long before Joseph and Mary noticed Jesus was missing. They, too, asked around. Where is Jesus? No longer a baby. But He wasn’t an adult, either. His parents were worried. Where is our Baby, Jesus? They hurried back to Jerusalem, searching high and low. Finally, where should they find Jesus? In the temple, their church, talking with the priests and teachers. We can imagine the anxious tone in their voice as they scolded Jesus for wandering off. His response? “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Why didn’t you look here in the first place?
Our one-year-old granddaughter is a woman of few words. (I am proud to say, though, she knows how to say “grandpa”!) But when you ask her “Where is Jesus?”, she puts her hand over her heart.
Where is Jesus? In your heart, of course! He’s been there all along! That’s His promise . . . to be with you always! After all, your body is His temple, you are part of His church, and your heart is His home!
Where is Jesus? Here He is; right where we should expect Him to be! With His people, His Church! With YOU!
May the joy of the Christ Child and the peace of His presence be yours today and always!