A quick glance over my last several posts may look like I’m in a funk. A dip. A low. That may be true, but I think it’s more. I think it reveals a search.
A search for Christmas. A search for intimacy with my Creator.
They are connected. Intertwined. One does not exist, for me, without the other.
One evening a few weeks ago, I took my Court Jester to the park. Our time together lately has been short and not altogether sweet. We needed a date.
The park is situated on a picturesque lake in our area, and the sun sets just over the horizon. As my son and I arrived, we spent some time talking to wizened men fishing off the dock with their buckets for chairs and cane poles for rods.
The fish weren’t biting and the park was calling.
As Caleb climbed towers and defeated evil villains (or was one, I’m not sure…), I watched from a bench. Slowly more children began to drift in and, as only children can, strangers became friends.
The sun filled the sky with its pink and amber colors. Two teen girls entered the play area, and it wasn’t long before they began spinning the children crazy on the merry-go-round and games of chase ensued.
When the father a bench over from mine started softly strumming his guitar, I was undone.
The laughter. The sunset. The music. The teen-hearts. The simplicity.
The moment wasn’t quiet but it stilled my soul. Tears seeped from the corners of my eyes.
Often I find myself looking for Christmas amongst the glitzy, the shiny, the sparkly. Sometimes I can find it there because Joy can be found in brilliantly lit places.
But Joy can be found in the humble places too. Sitting on that park bench, with its beautiful mix of humanity, gave me a sweet glimpse of heaven on earth. Nothing glamorous, nothing flashy.
Yet Christ shimmered in the midst.
The night Jesus was born the hay didn’t sparkle. The teenage mother wasn’t picture perfect. The shepherds, poor and dirty, were invited to visit first.
Nothing special. Nothing we know of Christmas today. There was nothing extravagant in the setting that first night.
Only extravagant Grace.
This Silent Night brought Joy to the World. And both heaven and nature sang.
When I’m looking for Christmas, I sometimes look too hard. I forget the humble beginnings. I forget the quiet restoration of humanity offered by a babe so small.
Beautiful places don’t reveal Jesus. Jesus reveals the beautiful. It’s His beauty we see in the humble manger. And it’s His loveliness we witness in the songs and traditions of this Season.
My search for Christmas begins with Immanuel—God with us. His fingerprints are everywhere.
Maybe that’s why my search will never end. Because I can find Him wherever I go.
I only need to be searching.
I never want to stop seeing Him in corners of this world. Whether they’re brightly lit or darkened by sadness.
The lights, the packages, the decorations. Those can hold Christmas. But peaceful evenings on a park bench can hold Christmas, too.