“Jesus Missing – Please Return!”
I was walking our dog as I approached my neighbor’s house and saw a sign by her beautiful manger she puts out every year. It said, “Baby Jesus missing – please return.” I couldn’t help but think, yeah, he’s missing alright! Sadly, He’s missing from more than just her manger scene. He’s being taken completely out of Christmas and society.
Every time I hear someone say “Happy Holidays”, I think, even the word “holiday” originally meant “holy day.” (The word holiday comes from the Old English word hāligdæg (hālig “holy” + dæg “day” = holy day. The word referred to special religious days.) So what’s holy about it without Jesus? Jesus IS the reason for the season. Apart from Him it’s not really a holiday because it’s no longer a “holy day.” Why are we buying presents? Whose birthday is it?
The free exercise of our religion is constantly being impeded upon. It’s more than a war on Christmas–it’s a war on Christianity. And it’s by the minority. Actually, the vast majority of people do celebrate Christmas and believe in God, so we’d be offending the least amount of people to say, “Merry Christmas.” And for the minority who don’t, it’s like not saying Happy Birthday to someone because it’s not their own birthday.
In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), Jesus didn’t say, preach only to those who want to hear it and will receive it. No, He commanded us to “go preach the Good News to all.” And who couldn’t use some ‘good news’ today? Sure some may protest, but the results are not up to us, only the message is. Besides, that person may just be the one who needs the love of Jesus the most. This is no time to be passive, but proactive. We should be respectful and loving, but shutting up completely is not the respectful or loving thing to do for a hurting and broken world. Jesus came to bring love, peace, salvation, etc., and who doesn’t need those things?
It appears the further we get away from that Good News of the Gospel, the worse off we get. And what could possibly be wrong with teaching the Ten Commandments, etc.? Maybe if “thou shall not kill” was drilled into a some heads…
People need the Gospel, even if they don’t realize it.
There was an article in the Miami Herald a while back about a lady in Louisiana who was in a dispute with her neighbors so she sent a message through her decorations and strung her lights up in the shape of a middle finger (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/12/sarah-childs-middle-finger-lights_n_4434567.html). Neighbors complained and police threatened to arrest her, so she and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city. And the judge ruled in her favor! Talk about offensive. She had the right to do that, but we’re being told not to say Merry Christmas?
I love the flash mob videos where a bunch of people start singing Christmas carols in a mall food court. And no one protests. People just appear to be touched and join in the singing. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnt7euRF5Pg & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE)
What can you do this Christmas to return Jesus to this wonderful ‘holy’ day? Let’s start by not letting Christ be taken out of it. Let’s greet people with “Merry Christmas”–in other words, “Let the joy of the Lord’s birth bless your day!” Whether they’re believers or not, it’s still a warm, friendly greeting. And if they tell you they don’t believe or they’re Jewish (which no one has ever said to me), then change your greeting.
I’ve had some great conversations with people at Christmas because I spoke up and said, “What holiday?” I have not found one person who attempted to answer that question, nor minded the question. In fact, just the opposite. Most would just smile and reply with Merry Christmas, or join in the conversation and say things like, “I know, isn’t it ridiculous that we can’t say Merry Christmas?” Can’t?
You may be noticing, as I am, that people are avoiding any holiday greeting at all and are now just saying, “Have a nice day.” To which we can reply, “And a very merry Christmas to you.”
Let’s not let Christmas get lost in the political correctness argument. If someone can win an argument about stringing their lights offensively, we CAN say Merry Christmas!
Oh, yes, sweet neighbor, Jesus is missing alright. But rest assured, He WILL return (Revelation 22:7, 12-13).
The words in this song are so fitting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhNipUjTSas
(Great song, but make sure you come back and read the updates to this situation!)
Update on Baby Jesus:
For a couple of days there was a sign by my neighbor’s manger that said “Jesus back—face smashed—so sad!”
Evidently, the baby Jesus was returned only to be stolen and returned again, smashed even worse. She told me a very nice man from up the street brought it back the second time after finding it in his yard. What a way to meet the neighbors.
Then – she found a jar of money by her door with a note from another neighbor she didn’t know, a mother and daughter, saying they wanted to help her buy a new baby Jesus. Several other neighbors were concerned and supportive, also.
So she then placed a sign which said, “Thanks to those who made it possible for me to regain my Christmas spirit.”
God bless that sweet mother for teaching her daughter kindness. Let’s pray for the suspected teenagers who stole and vandalized the baby Jesus. Perhaps they portray the minority of people who need the Love and Good News of the Savior they try to destroy. For Jesus was born and died for them, too. (But God showed his great love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8)
I think this neighborhood is a good example of the majorityof people who are not against and even support a manger scene and Christmas.
It doesn’t have to be Christmas to convey the Christmas spirit. My prayer is that all through the new year, we will do everything we can to love and keep the Christmas spirit alive and true Christianity from being destroyed.
Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”
Second Update: A few weeks later I talked with my neighbor again, and she told me a lady had knocked on her door and gave her a baby Jesus she had found in someone’s trash. Not just any baby Jesus, this one was white, almost just like the one that went with her manger! The lady had been driving along when she saw it on top of someone’s trash. She stopped to check it out, as she remembered seeing the sign about the stolen baby Jesus. Amazing! God bless her for taking the time to stop, check it out, and bring it to my neighbor.
The Christmas Spirit does live on!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!