Another quiet after Advent day. Maybe it just seems quiet by comparison, because the days leading up to Christmas are typically so full of anticipation and preparation for what is to come, that once it has come, everything seems to pause, giving everyone, including me, time to reflect and to refocus in the still hush that settles in to surround me, while Advent continues for many, including the Wise Men of old. (ok, maybe not so much this year, but still I can sense the shift in activity level going on around me)
So maybe you, dear readers, like the Wise Men, are still on your Advent journey in search of the Christ Child, God’s gift to the world, God’s gift to each one of us. Or maybe, though you journey and search, you do not know what it is that you seek. You only know that you lack something vital and so your search continues without rest until you should find that elusive missing piece to the mystery that is eternity and your place in it.
As I sit surrounded by yesterday’s already opened gifts, it occurs to me to share this poem with you entitled “The Forgotten Gift of Christmas” – so this is my gift to you, dear readers.
The Forgotten Gift of Christmas
so many gifts under the tree, I wonder how many are there for me?
I open them quickly, one by one – then I feel kinda sad when I’m all done.
is that all there is? is there nothing more? I guess what I want can’t be found in a store.
it can’t be bought and it can’t be sold – I don’t even know its name – if truth be told.
But there must be some gift that could fill my empty space, something or someone – I don’t know the name or face.
the face of forgiveness, the face of love, the face of God, come down from above.
God’s gift to me lay in a manger lowly, the commonplace now transformed by the Presence of the Holy.
God’s gift to me, so unexpected, this gift of Christmas so often rejected.
the package is a manger, holding a Baby small, those who accept the present, find the greatest gift of all.
The gifts God gives of hope and joy, are better to me than any new toy.
The Manger was full of peace and of light, full of God’s plan to make all things right.
I was looking for my Christmas gift under the Christmas tree, but I found it right where God had said, it was in the Nativity!
(from the book “Looking for Christmas” by Grace Day)
And that’s precisely where every Advent search ends – wherever Jesus is. For the shepherds, it was at the manger, for the Wise Men it was a small house in Bethlehem, for Zacchaeus it was when he climbed a tree, for Peter it was while fishing off the Galilean shore, for the Samaritan woman it was at the well, for Paul it was on the road to Damascus, for the criminal being put to death for his crimes, it was while on his own cross, which was next to the cross of Christ, that his search came to an end.
Likewise, there is hope that my search and that your search will end well also. That hope is found in God’s promise to each one of us that if we are looking for Him, we will find Him.
” ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14)
As you celebrated Christmas this year, maybe in remembering and rejoicing over His first coming, you met Jesus in the manger. Now the Baby in the manger grew up to be the Christ on the cross, and you can meet Him there as well, just like the criminal on the cross beside Jesus met Him there. But know that whatever road your journey has you traveling today, God will meet you on that road, just like He met Paul on his road to Damascus so many years ago.
I confess – I sometimes feel alone and forgotten on the road I am traveling today. Job must have felt the same way on his journey. I’m sure Job felt abandoned by God and totally unseen. But then, in the midst of his terribly tough trial, Job said these words about God,
“But He (God) knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
Job acknowledged that he was not off of God’s radar. God saw Job, God was with Job, and God would bring good to Job from his journey. That is what walking by faith looks like.
Jesus has come! Jesus is coming back again! In the meantime, I will wait with hope and walk by faith.
sincerely, Grace Day