The family had hoisted the tree into place and begun digging through a box of ornaments and decorations from the attic when someone mentioned there was a piece missing from the nativity set.
The traditional three wise men from the east and their camels were accounted for. There were shepherds and a miniature herd of sheep. The angels were all in place and Mary and Joseph and an assortment of animals that may have been in the stable that historic night. There were leftover strands of dried grass from years gone by but the little baby Jesus was nowhere to be found.
Somewhere among the ornaments and the tinsel and the garland and the strings of lights and all the other Christmas paraphernalia the little baby Jesus was missing.
It’s Christmas but I have a feeling for millions Jesus is still missing.
What would this world be like without the Lord Jesus? Who could say he has peace with God? What hope would anyone have of dealing with the nagging awareness that there is something really wrong in the spirit of mankind? What promise would there be of the world’s wrongs ever being righted, of it’s pain ever being relieved, of it’s injustice corrected?
A world without Christ would be a world without forgiveness and without love. Without Christ there would be no real, enduring joy. A world without Christ would be a world without light. It would be a world without Christmas and a world without carols. The song of a Christless world would be a funeral dirge, a bitter wailing in a minor key, a horrifying and empty sound.
In the great cities of our country, cathedrals of hope point weary people toward heaven. Along country roads thousands of little chapels declare living hope. But what if there were no churches? Think of the carnage of human suffering and sadness, think of the misery that would result if there were no churches in our land. Think of the millions upon millions who would suffer torment in hell for eternity if Jesus had not come into this world and died for sin.
In a moment the youngest member of the family shouted and baby Jesus was found and placed in his rightful position of adoration. That’s the way it is. Nothing is right until Jesus is in His rightful place. What a tragedy when we lose Jesus in all the trappings of Christmas.
While we tallied up the total
of what the Christmas season cost,
we had a strange and troubling feeling
something vital had been lost.
Somewhere among the bows and cards
and pretty Christmas wrappings,
Concealed by the lights and trees
and other festive trappings,
The glory of the Christ-child
had been hidden by the glitter,
And the simple gospel story
was discarded with the litter.
December 18, 1985