White snow lay like a fluffy white blanket covering the ground, bushes and trees all around. Soft moonlight reflected faintly on the frosty scenery. Streetlamps gave off a yellow glow on the road and the freshly shoveled sidewalk which led up to the door of the chapel. The windows shone brightly with light from inside and cheerful carols rang out over this picturesque Christmas evening.
Suddenly the door burst open and a desperate child´s voice rang out. “Someone has stolen Baby Jesus!”
All of the singing stopped abruptly at the intrusion and the startled worshipers stared for a moment at the young boy who had burst into the chapel.
Once again you could hear the concern in the boy´s voice as he clarified the news. “Someone has taken baby Jesus out of the nativity scene.”
The ceremony halted as the people filed out of the door and into the snowy path to look at the church´s nativity scene near the front door. As the people crowded around the simple scene it was plane to see that the boy´s observation was true. The small structure of crude wood that formed the manger was intact. There were several plastic characters, an ox and a donkey. The figures of Joseph and Mary were there stooping over the manger. But the crib was empty!
People began to murmur amongst themselves and several men began looking for clues as to see who could have taken the baby from the nativity scene. But even though the snow was piled high all around, it had been trampled flat where the little scene was.
Soon the cold drove the group back into the church where the discussion continued to grow. Anger soon replaced bewilderment as individuals suggested possible culprits. There were many suggestions as to what had happened to the small figure of Christ that had gone missing. Most of the congregation was sure that he had been there when they had entered the church. But unfortunately nobody could find any real evidence.
The moment of worship was forgotten by now, and the company of church-goers became completely engaged in pointing fingers and defending each his or her own theories.
But still the figure of Christ was missing from the scene.
This story may be fictitious, but it describes a very real picture of our current state of Christianity and the Christmas Holiday.
Each group of believers holds their own theories on Christmas. We all look this way and that. Some point fingers at others. Some may have even lost interest and others still may not even notice that Jesus has been removed from His Holiday almost completely.
The fact remains that this day, celebrated around the world and given the name ¨Christmas¨, has lost its center piece and focus, the very reason for celebrating. The miracle of God, becoming man to bring salvation to all mankind, is a worthy cause of celebration and festivity. Today we see more and more celebration given to Santa Claus and a few reindeer. Time, effort and perhaps more frighteningly, attention has been given to people receiving, instead of giving. Little thought and much less time is given every year to that precious little baby, a direct and most wonderful gift from God.
Dear Lord, we have lost the precious Gift and we may not quite realize its tragic consequences. We have somehow lost the wonder of Jesus from a holiday to celebrate His coming to the world. We pray that it is not too late for us to come to our senses and set out to search for Him again. May Your Spirit assist our pursuits and our seeking hearts.
Merry Christmas to all. Peace on earth and goodwill to men. May God be glorified in the celebrating of the Special gift of His Son born to us!