To celebrate the season of Advent, we will be reading a real-life applicable story of the importance of focusing ourselves on the birth and return of Christ. Please join us as we seek to put Christ at the center of it all!
Advent Week 1
“Lost? Sigh. No way! How do you lose Baby Jesus? For goodness sakes, he can’t be lost. I know I packed him up last year. This is just crazy.” Sherri spoke aloud to the empty room, rocking back on her heels as she stopped digging through the box in front of her. She’d gone through that box six times already and still no sign of the Baby Jesus Nativity piece.
As Sherri sat there surrounded by stacks of Christmas ornaments, tree garland and tissue paper, she thought about what a great plan she’d had that morning. The idea of starting the Christmas decorating early had been a good one; the next few days were going to be really full once Jon’s Mom arrived for Thanksgiving. The tree, of course, they would all decorate, it was a tradition they’d kept for years. But, oh! How nice it was to imagine all the rest being done so they would have just a little time to relax together. Yeah……well, from the looks of the mess surrounding her, that wasn’t likely to happen.
Now that she thought about it, that’s kind of the way life had been for her lately, a mess. Overscheduled, over-stressed, and definitely lots of “lost” stuff along the way. Sherri wondered how things had gotten so out of hand. She wasn’t feeling the warm holiday spirit these days, just the cold reality of the next event on the calendar.
Even the time she normally spent with Jesus each morning had dwindled down to a few prayerful thoughts over her coffee. And listening to Christian music on the radio was uplifting, but such a poor swap for time in His word. Not much intentional relationship there.
“Lord, I’m just a mess.” Sherri prayed as she sat there in the middle of the Christmas trimmings. “I can’t believe I’ve let things get so out of control. This is the time of year that we’re supposed to be remembering your coming, your amazing gift of life to us; not fretting over the size of the turkey or the cost of the presents under the tree or finding all the Nativity pieces. I’d ask you how I got so lost in all this stuff, but I know the answer already – I stopped looking for you each day. Jesus, you’re so good to never leave me, even when I’ve turned my back on you. Please forgive me for losing my wonder of you and the miracle of your mercy and grace. I so don’t deserve you, but I’m so thankful that you love me in spite of myself.”
Sherri sat there in silence as she considered her short prayer and she recalled the Pastor’s sermon from Sunday. When he’d begun the series on Haggai a few weeks ago, she’d wondered how that was going to apply to the season ahead. Rebuilding the temple; an ancient minor prophet and a disobedient king. But if it wasn’t clear then, it sure was now. The Israelites had lost their focus on what mattered most and God had broken them down to nothing in order to remind them. It hit her like a brick – just like she’d lost the baby Jesus Nativity piece, she’d lost her direction when she’d put her own schedule and plans ahead of God’s timetable for her life.
“Alright, Lord. You’ve got my attention now. None of this stuff matters when You’re not at the center of my life. You were there once, it’s time I remember that You belong there – with Your agenda, not mine. Be my compass again Lord and point me back to what matters the most to You. And most of all Lord, give me the heart to want Your best.”
With a big sigh and a new resolve, Sherri got up from the floor and began to set up the Nativity scene on the brick hearth. Yep, there was a big hole with no Baby Jesus in the manger, but just like she herself had been lost and out of place a few moments ago, she knew that Jesus would soon be back where He belonged – right in the center of it all.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
* This story was written by a member of our worship team – Robin Merriman