As I shared last week, Christmas has been a pretty tough time of year for me for many years. As a person who deeply values quality time and meaningful conversation and activity, the Christmas season has left me feeling empty and pretty sad more times than I can count. All the flurry and chaos so that there might be such a thing as close to the “perfect Christmas” has left me wondering what we do all this for anyway. And through all of it, I’ve had to wonder where Jesus is in all of it.
I mean, I have found it difficult to find Him at all. Here we were, celebrating His birth but when it was all said and done, where was He?
Looking back over the last several years, I realize that I’ve been on a quest to find Jesus at Christmastime. And I think I may just have found Him in the most unlikely of places.
For starters, I found Him in my own heart. He was already there, but I was too busy and preoccupied to notice Him much and the world around me was too noisy for Him to be heard. Jesus does not come to us shouting over the clamor and commotion of our lives; He waits patiently to be heard. He waits for us to quiet our hearts before Him, and then He whispers peace and grace to our weary aching souls.
I also found Him in the people around me. Jesus comes to us in disguise. He is our brother, our sister, our mother, our father, our neighbor, our son and our daughter, the bell ringer at the grocery store, the clerk, the stock boy, the single mom, the fatherless child, the bereaved widow, the homeless man standing on the exit ramp, the woman waiting tables so she can put food on her own table, the mail lady, the family in the pew next to us just hoping to survive the years of toddlers and diapers and a tight budget, the young girl devastated that her dad doesn’t care enough to show up at her Christmas concert, the young boy who longs desperately for the family to all be together once again. Jesus comes to us in the broken, the weary, the downtrodden. He comes to us in the rich and in the poor, in the proud and in the humble, in the sick and in the healthy. Jesus is here.
Jesus is here this Christmas. He comes to us through those who bear His very image – through His image-bearers. Every man, woman and child upon the earth bears the image of God in them. They can’t not be a reflection of Jesus, and He comes even now. What will we do with Him? Will we embrace Him? Will we love Him? Or will we not recognize Him, even as many did not recognize Him as He lived here on the earth?
I have found Jesus where so many before us have found Him and where He lived His earthly life in obscurity and anonymity – in the margins and on the edges of humanity. He lives in the mostly unlikely place for a king to live – among the poor, the brokenhearted, the weary, the sick.
If you’re looking for Jesus this Christmas, look for Him on the fringes, where not many others are looking. He will be there. He always is.