Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Watching Baby Jesus

"Someone has to watch baby Jesus."

The words spoken from one of our younger theologians at church as our baby Jesus doll lie in the manger and straw.  We were gathered for the church's second time in the Sedalia Christmas Parade.  A kick-off to the Christmas season on an unusually warm and clear day.  Surrounded by sleighs, trees, decorations and lights, we were dressed in jeans and t-shirts more likely preparing for spring than the winter to come.

"Old Fashioned Christmas" was the parade theme.  The church had an old fashioned truck with an old fashioned Christmas scene complete with fireplace, popcorn-strung tree, and a grandmother lovingly reading to her grandson.  She read to him the original story.  The greatest story some may say.  For us, it was the original story - that Nativity story of Christ's birth and the light entering the world.

There on the other side of the float sat the children dressed as angels, shepherds, Mary and Joseph.  And there in the manger lie the baby Jesus, a favorite doll picked just for this occasion.

As with any parade there is much waiting.  Waiting for the parade to start.  Waiting to start moving once the parade begins.  Waiting when the floats get in a traffic jam.  Waiting for the candy to be passed out to the children lining the sides of the street.    

As we sat and waited dressed in costumes, one of our angels said, "Someone has to watch baby Jesus."

Perhaps she was afraid of baby Jesus getting picked up in the wind.  Or concerned for this favorite doll of her friend.  Or like an adoring angel, she wanted to make sure Jesus received his due appreciation and honor.

"Someone has to watch baby Jesus."

Truth is, her words hit me as I've been more concerned about Jesus watching me.  I worry about whether Jesus is really with me in my pain and longing.  I question his hopefulness for a weary world.  I'm more concerned that Jesus is with me than about watching for Jesus in our midst.  I'd rather complain that Jesus has left me to wander the darkness alone than seeing him in the light of others.

"Someone has to watch baby Jesus."

Thanks to the words of an angel for the reminders of Jesus in our midst.  For Jesus was there as we gathered and laughed and planned.  Jesus was there in the excitement of children dressed to tell the greatest story.

Yes, we all have to watch baby Jesus.  Because, you see, Jesus is on the move in the world.  Everywhere.  In the beginning and in the end.  And everything in between, Jesus is with us.  Watch out world, because with Jesus in our midst angel voices can be heard proclaiming good news that will bring great joy to all people.

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