Stick figure Jesus
This is the last Crossroad for 2017.
A Crossroad reader sent me this lovely Christmas story:
A few years ago my children visited from Australia. They were spending Christmas with us and I wondered if there was something special that I could do to make Christmas memorable for my two grandchildren, two little boys. I wanted to do something special that would make these two toddlers remember Christmas as a special time that was not just about gifts, but all about Jesus.
It was the day before Christmas and late afternoon I popped into the Mall. Chaos! Everybody was running around trying to get a few last-minute presents or something to eat and the shelves in the shops seemed weirdly empty. I jogged from shop to shop looking for a miniature nativity scene with Maria, Joseph, the shepherd, Jesus in the manger – you know, those that everybody always has under the Christmas tree! Eventually I found one at a very expensive gift shop. Back home, two pairs of eager children’s hands helped to unwrap the figurines from the bubble wrap and place them carefully around and inside the stable, but what a let-down! There was no baby Jesus in the packet! What to do? The shops were closed so we couldn’t exchange it. Grandma had to make a plan quickly. With a few sticks and a few pieces of cloth a little baby figurine was put together! Jesus was in the manger!
Late that night after everybody had gone to bed, I sat wondering what had happened to that lost figurine. It simply did not feel right to have a stick Jesus. I went to the kitchen and emptied all the trash bags on the floor, searching among the left-over scraps of food and wrapping paper … gross! But among the pieces of bubble wrap there was one piece that looked out of place … and there it was: I had discovered the real Jesus! Eager little hands must’ve missed this piece. I put the real Jesus back in the miniscule manger and with tears in my eyes I dropped to my knees and prayed:
“Lord Jesus, I know tonight that it is time to empty my bag of a life filled with trash before your feet and to keep on looking and looking until I find the real Jesus! Please help me to exchange the stick figure Jesus of my life for the real Jesus! Please help me not to go into this festive season without you, the real Jesus! Thank you for opening my eyes tonight so that I can see it. Amen.”
May this be true for you. May you make space in your life for the real Jesus. May you enter 2018 with Him. The real, risen Jesus who came to save the world.
I would like to say a blessing for you and all those you love: May the love of our God Almighty and the grace of Jesus our Saviour flow over you, and may the Holy Spirit take your hand and be with you wherever you go. Amen.