Where'd he GO!?


This is slightly on the level of "hokey" but I'm going there anyway. If you don't know what it means to be hokey - it means mawkish.

We have some sweet volunteers in our church who go through the sanctuary and clean up. They straighten the hymnals, pick up pencils, make sure everything is where it needs to be.

Well one of these sweet ladies came into the office this afternoon and said they needed to talk to a pastor. Apparently, when she went to the sanctuary today to take care of the sanctuary, she discovered Jesus was missing from the manger! She was afraid someone had taken Jesus, and she assured me that if he was gone, she had another Jesus back home that was a slightly different color, but the appropriate size. She would gladly offer us her Jesus until he could be replaced.

As you might know, its tradition to set up the manger scene without Jesus, until Christmas and then you put the baby in the manger (skip the whole birthing thing, way too messy). This humble volunteer apparently didn't know the tradition. Without making fun of her, the situation allowed for me to theologize what it means to lose Jesus.

First, notice that she was in the sanctuary when she realized Jesus was missing. Isn't it SO TRUE that Christians who are going about their business, doing good Christian things like going to church and praying and reading the Bible, can get sideswiped by a "OMG, Where'd he GO!?" moment? I think this ebb and flow of God's presence in our lives is never more puzzling or disheartening than when we are where we think God wants us.

Second, when she realized he was gone, the very real possibility of Jesus being stolen was her first assumption. God's absence/presence often has a lot to do with people "stealing Jesus" when life thows us a curve ball. I mean, why would someone steal Jesus in the first place? It would have to be some childish prank if anything...certainly not because someone hates Jesus or wanted to sell Jesus or has a personal vendetta against me.

Third, she offered her own version of Jesus, who was a DIFFERENT COLOR, but about the same size, so its cool. hmmm, I'll offer my baby Jesus and just in case Jack thinks it just wouldn't be decent without a Jesus who looked like he belonged in the scene, I better fill him in on whats really important...the complexion is different.

Cute story. People will try to steal your Jesus. But there are others who will try to replace your Jesus with an imposter Jesus. And when it really gets down to it, Jesus probably is not where you thought he'd be anyway. My hope is that in your life, you'll allow a Jesus who might not "fit" in your world. And heck, if you notice he isn't where you last saw him, do go looking for him, won't you?