I know Christmas has come and gone, but I really wanted to share this story with you today. Several years ago, I bought this cute nativity decoration for our tree. It had adorable animals on it. But the best part was the tiny baby Jesus that could be removed and placed back in the manger on Christmas Day. There was a magnet inside Jesus so He would stay put when placed in His bed. I loved that decoration. And so did my young children. They loved playing with baby Jesus. And because my youngest was obsessed with teeny tiny things (she still is), baby Jesus was often out of His tiny bed. This continued until He got lost about 8 years ago. If you are feeling like you can’t find Jesus, this post is for you. When You Are Searching For Jesus.
My kids were upset that Jesus was missing. I searched the floor underneath and surrounding the tree without success. I decided to look again after Christmas when the tree was disassembled and it might be easier to find Him. Well, despite my efforts, Jesus was gone for good. I thought maybe the vacuum got Him or maybe one of the cats found Him. Either way, that manger would remain empty for all future Christmases. And my kids were sad. They talked about this baby Jesus every year we put the tree back up.
This past Christmas, though, had a surprise for us. We set up our tree and the kids went to work separating the branches (my least favorite job). My son was working away at the bottom portion when he made a miraculous discovery. “I found baby Jesus!”
He held that teeny, tiny baby Jesus in his hand. After all these years and that tree going up, branches fluffed out, and then taken down again, AND a move to a new house, baby Jesus was found. He had been nestled in that set of branches the whole time. How did I miss Him all these years? While we were joyous at this discovery, I was caught up in thinking about several spiritual applications to this occurrence.
Just Because You Don’t See Him…
Have you ever not felt the presence of God? There have been several times in my life when I just didn’t ‘see’ Him. I didn’t feel Him or see Him working in my life. Like He disappeared. Gone. He didn’t care to stick with me. I was abandoned. However, as I grew in spiritual maturity, I started to understand this fundamental truth. Just because I can’t see Him doesn’t mean that He isn’t there. Often, we get stuck in the idea that we have moved away from God or we have sinned and that’s why we don’t feel His presence.
And while that is true some of the time, it isn’t always the absolute truth. If we did move away from God, then I doubt we’d be concerned about feeling His presence. And if we were so caught up in our sin that we no longer feel God, then I doubt we would truly care about God. We’d care more about our sin that feeling His presence would not even be considered.
The truth is that we cannot base our faith on our feelings. Our feelings are fickle. I wrote more about this in a post called What I Wish I had Known When I Didn’t Feel His Presence. And our discovery of that tiny baby Jesus confirmed this idea. He was in that tree the entire time, all these years. Just because I didn’t see Him had nothing to do with the fact that He was there. Always.
Never Give Up Hope
I gave up hope of ever finding that tiny Jesus. When I think about how tiny the figure is and how long it has been since He was lost – AND we had moved to another house – finding Him seemed impossible. So, I surrendered any hope of ever finding Him again.
Sometimes we give up on seeing Jesus. Maybe the pain is too great and it overshadows our faith. Or perhaps we think our sin is too great for Him to handle…or we have committed a sin one too many times…and we lose hope that He will accept us in our filth. Maybe we just can’t get this Christian thing right.
Finding that diminutive figurine reminded me to never give up on Hope. Never give up on Jesus.
Expect the Unexpected
Finding that tiny Jesus in the branches of that tree after all this time was completely unexpected.
I think about all of the times in my life when God has come through for me. They were from the unexpected.
Then I read His Hole Word and see how He worked through the unexpected. Jesus was born of a virgin and in a stable – that was unexpected. Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born. That was unexpected. The Red Sea was parted – that was unexpected. Lazarus was raised from the dead. That was unexpected. Jesus was crucified and then resurrected on the third day…giving us a way to the father.
That was unexpected.
Remember, friend, He comes in the unexpected.
What has God taught you about searching for Him? How has He shown up in the unexpected in your life? What have you come to believe When You Are Searching For Jesus?