• 54°

Christmas? Where is Jesus

A writer on a television variety show wanted to do an old-fashioned Christmas. Everyone thought he was nuts. This was Hollywood. There was no snow. No Christmas trees. Then they begin to question whether Christmas was even realistic anymore. Finally, one asked the central question: Where is Jesus anyway?

Finances are hard for so many. Where is Jesus for them?

Others are going through crisis: divorce, grief, illness. Where is Jesus for them?

Nearly all of us are feeling more pressure now than ever before. Where is Jesus for us?

For many, Jesus doesn’t seem that close anymore. Are people attending church to celebrate the birth of Jesus or merely out of habit? As pastors, are we still excited about the God who called us into ministry or are we preparing our professionally organized message with all the right words but none of the passion?

Where is Jesus for us? We know the story but is Jesus really here today? Help me to believe again! Help me understand again why Christmas is more than a few get-togethers, eating food and opening presents.

This should be where I give you Scripture and answers because that is what we preachers do but I remember the writer of the variety show and how they decided to celebrate Christmas. Near the end of the show, they brought in a trumpet player from New Orleans who nearly died during Hurricane Katrina. He lost his home and possessions. More than anyone, he had the right to ask: Where is Jesus?

But in the midst of tragedy he found Jesus. First, in the outpouring of help from friends and neighbors. Then, a church from another state sent people, not once but many times to rebuild his home. But more than rebuild his home, they witnessed to him their love for Jesus Christ. By the time, the church group left, they built more than a home. They restored this musician’s faith. In the grip of tragedy, this musician rediscovered his passion and love for Jesus!

At the end of the show, the stage grew quiet while a single spotlight focused on the grateful musician. He told his story, then put his trumpet to his lips and played, “O Come All Ye Faithful.” At first, all you could hear was the medley but there was something special about the way this musician played. As the camera panned the audience you could see people at first mouthing the words but then they began to sing.

O come all ye Faithful, joyful and triumphant.

O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.

Come and behold him, born the King of angels.

O come let us adore him.

O come let us adore him.

O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

As the audience sang the final words there was a transformation. The once passive audience became animated. The show ended in silence with a lone spotlight first on the audience, then on the transformed musician, while the screen simply flashed the words— Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas. Where is Jesus? Jesus is in the heart of a transformed musician. Jesus is within a church that traveled over a thousand miles to repair homes and witness their love. Jesus is within an audience expecting a variety show but receiving a stirring testimony of faith. Jesus is within each and every heart open to receiving a transforming love that can only come from God’s Son.

Merry Christmas.

REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at larrydavies@ vaumc.org