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December 19, 2008

’Where Is Jesus?’

This Christmas season has been a difficult one at my church, as we've been struggling with the loss of two of our members. This month, Bruce Heacock died from complications of what I believe was Trisomy 9. Last month, Carolyn Usher, secretary in our church music office and a loving, motherly presence to all of us involved in the music ministry, died after a month in a coma following a car accident.

With the church's permission, I'm reprinting here a short Christmas essay that Carolyn wrote in 1998. It's a valuable reminder that -- even when Christmas is a season of loss -- reminders of Christ are everywhere we look.

By Carolyn Usher

Christmas is coming but where is Jesus?  Shhh now, we are not supposed to offend anyone!  Dare we even say the “J” word as we celebrate our “Winter Holiday?”  YES, YES, YES!!  If we don’t tell anyone about Jesus’ birthday, no one else will.  And there are people who need to hear the whole story.  In fact, why not start by telling our own children?

Remember how Moses told the Israelites to tell their children about God’s commandments?   In Deuteronomy 6, Moses tells the people to impress the commandments on your children, talk about them when you sit a home, and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you get up.

Let’s translate that verse for today, and tell our children about Jesus.  Perhaps it would go something like this:  Impress Jesus on  your children, and talk about Jesus when you sit at home rewinding the video tape; when you drive your van full of little people to the grocery store or to the soccer practice; and when you lie down and when you get up (after having fallen asleep when you were lying down getting them to sleep!).

We may not see Jesus nestled in a manger scene in the mall, but reminders of Him are everywhere we look.  So let’s look for reminders of Jesus and start talking about Him to our children.

How about the Christmas lights? The lights remind me of Jesus because He is the light of the world.  (John 8:12)  In fact, in heaven, the Lord God will provide our light.  (Rev 22:5)  Whenever we see Christmas lights, whether they are the beautiful ones on our trees, or the tacky ones around the corner or the dazzling ones at the mall, lights can be a special reminder to us of Jesus.

How many others can you find?  When we look up at the stars on a cold clear night, we are reminded that it was a very, very bright and special star that led the wise men to Jesus. (Matt 2:21)   When we hear Christmas carols in church or even at the mall, we are reminded that lots of angels sang when Jesus was born.  (Luke 2:13-14)  When we have a “family feast,” we are reminded that Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35) and that someday we will have a special family feast with God and Jesus in heaven.  (Rev 19:9)  When we see Christmas trees, we are reminded that Jesus died on a tree to save us from our sins.  (1 Peter 2:24)  When we shop for presents to give to those we love, we are reminded that Jesus gave each of us a very special present – His life – because He loves us so much!  (John 3:16)

There are lots of reminders of Jesus all around us.  Can you see them?  See how many others you and your family can find as you prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

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Rolley Haggard

Thanks Gina, and Carolyn... Well done, indeed.

I'm utterly speechless. And I guess for good reason:

"Thanks be unto God for His *u n s p e a k a b l e* gift. (2 Cor 9:15)

Rachel Coleman

Carolyn's essay is so sweetly written. Excellent teaching, done without preachiness or scolding.

I want to be like that!

Thanks for sharing it.

Gina Dalfonzo

She was a sweet woman. It was hard to lose her, but it's some comfort to think of how much she will enjoy her first Christmas in heaven.


Thanks for the timely reminder. In many ways Christmas has come to be about everything but Jesus. How nice to be reminded that even things like "holiday lights" can remind us of Him.
Merry Christmas to all!

Jason Taylor

Your own life is not dependant on the weakness of others. You can have Jesus in your Christmas, even if no one else has.

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