By B.J. Funk
Now, where in the world was Baby Jesus? Weeks before, I had removed him from sitting on top of my buffet and taken him to church to show the preschoolers. This wasn't just any Baby Jesus. This Baby Jesus was special! He had just enough blue and white to place him into the color scheme I loved. He stayed on my buffet in the kitchen year round, lying in his attached manger and being the focal point for the sheep and camel, shepherds, wise men, Joseph and Mary. If any part of my Christmas creche got lost, surely it didn't need to be Baby Jesus! After all, He is the main character! What is a creche without Baby Jesus?
What was so special about this particular manger scene? The beautiful blue and white set came from the Biltmore House in Ashville, N.C., given to me by close friends who know how much I like blue and white pieces of any kind. Why would I even take something this special to show little children? What was I thinking?
I searched everywhere. Day after day I gazed at my manger scene, painfully aware that all of the pieces were facing in the same direction, looking at … nothing. They were lined up, staring at the same spot, but nothing was there. There was no Baby Jesus because He was lost.
This made me think about church, how we get in all the right places to worship, line up facing just the right spot where Jesus should be, but instead there is no Jesus. What is church without Jesus? He is, after all, the main character. Maybe He's not there because He has not been found. Maybe Jesus is lost in some of our churches, just like my Baby Jesus.
Is Baby Jesus lost in your church? It is a frightening concept, isn't it? Certainly we haven't lost
Baby Jesus! Surely when we come to worship, we are thinking about Jesus, aren't we? Maybe just a little bit? Or, are we so preoccupied with our own issues that we don't even notice Jesus is lost?
What are you looking at when you go to church? Fashion and style? Cute children? Friends? Or, are you so busy critiquing the flower arrangement and music that you don't even notice where Jesus is? What is your main focus when you go to church? Is Jesus in your church, or is He lost?
One afternoon, I picked up a small pillow in the back seat of my car. Surprise! There was tiny Baby Jesus unbroken and resting underneath! I had moved that pillow plenty of times before – or at least I thought I had. Stunned and relieved, I moved quickly to my kitchen to put Baby Jesus in his proper place. Whew! I don't think I could ever have replaced one piece of a creche.
All that time I thought Baby Jesus was lost, He wasn't. During those weeks, my back seat had carried bags of trash, stacks of papers, groceries and clothes. Jesus had been covered over with an accumulation of things that really didn't matter.
If Baby Jesus has somehow landed in the back seat of your car, look for him underneath the clutter and cares of this world. Then, move him to the front seat of your life. Take him to church with you this Sunday so that those who are looking for him can find him. Soul-hungry church goers will be so thankful that once Baby Jesus had been lost, but now He's found. Making sure that Jesus is back in your church is truly a reason to sing Amazing Grace.
The Rev. B.J. Funk is associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald. Email her at email@example.com.