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  “For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called 

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 NIV

This time of year Facebook comes alive with countless pictures of manger scenes, Christmas trees, beautifully decorated homes, perfect Pinterest recipes, Elf on the Shelf ideas, and bountiful gift giving tips.

As I was scrolling through Facebook a few days ago, I came across a picture that struck a chord deep in my soul.

Because this picture, this story, was so much more real. The problem more pressing than any gift idea, decoration, recipe, or news story.

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My friend’s precious two year old had taken Baby Jesus from the manger. The Main Character gone missing. Nowhere to be found.

“And this will be a sign for you:you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 ESV

Jesus is missing from the scene. The manger empty. This sweet little angel of a child has a lesson for us all!

Maybe, just maybe, this innocent heart of a child knew who was, by far,  the most important character on the scene, and she wanted Him. Not yet even old enough to understand, in her innocence, eternity already placed in her heart.

Had He not shown up in the wee hours of the night, where we would we be?

Lost and hopeless. Without salvation, the Hope of Heaven missing. No shelter in the storm. No Grace to cover my imperfections. No Mercy when forgiveness is needed. No Light in the dark.

And the question piercing deep in my heart today; Is He missing anyway? Have we tossed Him out? Or at the very least, placed Him on the bottom of the list. After, and only after, everything else.

In our quest to provide the perfect Christmas experience, spending to excess, have we taken the most important character out of the scene?

In all of our busy-ness, to do lists, shopping lists, menu selections, cleaning up that last project at work, shopping to excess…can we find Him?

Can we set it all aside, and experience Him?

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19ESV

Treasuring all that He is. Inviting Him into the hard places of our lives. The uncertainties. The rough edges in our marriages, the failing marriages. The financial oppression. The wayward child. The fighting in the streets.

In her book The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp says this, “We only find out where we are when we find out where He is. We only find ourselves…when we find Him.”

“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.” Matthew 2:11 ESV

They fell down and worshiped him. 

Before the tree, the gifts, the turkey and the ham…they fell down and worshiped Him.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Shouldn’t that be what it’s all about?

The Gift. The Real Gift. The Only Gift.

When we find Him and place Him back as the priority in our hearts, we will find ourself.

The excess and the rest…well, it will only be temporary. But Heaven, eternity, will be forever.

HE longs for us to show up. Our broken places need us to show up.

Let’s find Jesus today and put Him back in His rightful place…at the very top of our list. The very center of our hearts. Our lives.

Gifts of Grace