Every Christmas, I ask God for a focus point, a theme...something that makes the season and the story of Jesus come alive for me once more. The problem with traditions, at least for me, is that I get bored with them. I have heard the story before, the songs are oh so familiar, I know what happens in the end, and though the truth can be amazingly profound, I loose my sense of wonder all too easily when there is repitition involved. So I ask the One who is never short on fresh ideas to show me a new angle, another dimension of truth, a divine revelation of the neverending depth of Love personified.
And this year, I was struck with the necessity of looking. Those shepherds would never have found the One who changed the course of their lives if they had not abandoned their work and went on a midnight treasure hunt. Wise men spent years poring over writings and watching the skies, and when all the signs lined up, they packed their bags and started on a lengthy journey to another part of the world, searching for someone they were sure was a King of the highest order.
Jesus is not always easy to find. You have to be looking, searching, wanting, longing, hungry for something of eternal worth. He does not parade His greatness or flaunt his authority. He waits to be recognized, and sometimes even hides himself for reasons I cannot fully understand. He appeared in unlikely places, in obscure locations, in situations where no one expected to find him. But those who were determined to find him, always did. Those who were content with the status quo, often busy with their systematic beliefs and traditions, all too often overlooked the beauty, mystery and simplicity walking right in front of them.
So this Christmas, I am choosing to bypass the obvious and instead, turn over a few rocks, pull back a curtain or two, and perhaps even gaze into the face of a stranger. What will I find?
"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree from Jeremiah 29 (the Message)