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Gone Boy
by Tom Goodman
December 17, 2014

Jesus was missing, and for a few days Chicago was in an uproar.

A few years ago, someone nabbed the figurine of the infant Jesus from a life-sized nativity, a hand-carved Italian masterpiece given as a gift to the people of Chicago.  For days, local newscasts began their programming with comments from an angry mayor, assurances from a police chief that the case would be solved, and emotional pleas from the Nativity committee to return the irreplaceable artwork.

Then, without explanation, the baby Jesus was found.  The fine work of art was found in an unlikely setting: a locker at the bus depot.  The infant was returned to the manger, safely strapped down with metal straps, and protected by guards.

It sure sounds like there's a lesson in that news story.  As you count down to Christmas, is Jesus missing?

I'm asking this of those who claim Christian convictions.  I know that about a third of Americans deliberately celebrate a Christmas without relation to Jesus, according to a new LifeWay Research report.  But right now my mind is more on those who will miss Jesus this season not by design but by default.

By default?  Sure.  We can let the demands of the season crowd out the reason for the season.  From crowded malls to noisy office parties to lines at the post office to the gauntlet of TSA screenings standing between us and our flight home -- well, in the midst of it all, we may find that Jesus is missing.

So, be sure and turn your thoughts to God's great gift of Immanuel, which means "God with us."  Here are some ways to make much of Jesus this season:

In your family gatherings, pause long enough to read the Christmas story from Luke 2.

Or defer to Linus by popping in a DVD of A Charlie Brown Christmas if you're too shy to lead a public Scripture reading.

Bring someone to this Sunday's 10am service as we discuss that great prophecy of Christmas in Isaiah 9.

If you're in town on Christmas Eve, join us at Hillcrest at 6:00 p.m. for a 45-minute kid-friendly service.

Tune to some music that honors Christ's birth. I recommend Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God Oh my.

Get ready for some redemptive conversations by reading Lee Strobel's The Case for Christmas.

Let's make sure that the pressures of the holiday don't rob Jesus from our heart!


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