“Jesus on the Loose”

On December 30, Pastor Laura preaches on Luke 2:8-20.

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Nativity scenes are everywhere! Some are simply crafted, while others are ornate. Some are life-sized, while others are cast in miniature. The usual cast of characters are there. And there’s a minimum cast required. So, you’ll find at least one shepherd and three magi. One angel. One Mary. One Joseph. And one Baby Jesus. Maybe one sheep. Maybe one camel.

If you want to get really fancy, your nativity will have a stable for the cast to stand inside. And there will be cattle lowing—a dove in the rafters—a whole flock of sheep—and many camels because, you know, those magi are rich. The angel glows with iridescent glaze. Mary is especially well-dressed, almost always in blue. Joseph looks about the same, no matter what. Someone decided that Jesus should be gilded in gold. And everyone wears a halo!

Have you ever lost the Jesus in your nativity? I have. He’s the smallest piece of the nativity, so he’s easy to lose. He can roll under the sofa or get caught up in the wrapping paper in the blink of an eye. I searched and searched for the Jesus in my nativity one time, only to discover that one of the kids carried him into the bedroom and put him in the Fisher-Price barn with the clucking chicken.

So, what do you do when there’s no Jesus in the nativity? And this time, you can’t find him? What DO you do?