Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio

This website uses modern web technologies not supported by Internet Explorer.
Please use a recommended web browser such as Edge, Firefox or Chrome for the best viewing experience.

"Where Do We Find the Christ Child"

Luke 2:12-16 

 John 14:8-14

Where do we find the baby Jesus?  A class of early elementary aged Sunday School students

was asked this question by their teacher just a few weeks before Christmas. Jordan piped up

first: “We find him in a manger.”  Nicole added, “In the little town of Bethlehem.”  Kirsten

chimed in next:  “In his mommy’s arms.”  Luke added, “Baby Jesus is under our Christmas tree.” 

After a moment of silence, the teacher asked Morgan what she thought.  “I think He’s on my

dad’s cell phone.”  “Why do you think that?” the teacher asked.  Morgan replied, “Every time

some music plays, my daddy looks at his phone and says, ‘Sweet Baby Jesus, what’s he texting

me about this time."

       As we are fast approaching the celebration of Jesus’ birth, this is a question for us grown-up

children as well:  Where do we find the Christ Child?”  How and where do we encounter the

Baby Jesus, born so long ago, in a cattle stall, in that little town of Bethlehem?”  For a bunch of

shepherds tending their flocks, the answer came with crystal clarity from the very heavens:

“This will be a sign for you; you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a man-

ger.”  They proceeded to the nearest village where they “found Mary and Joseph, and the child

lying in the manger,” just as they had been told.  Were it only so crystal clear for we who live

some 2,018 years after the event.  So where do we find the Christ Child; beyond the nativity

scenes?  Beyond the Hallmark cards and Christmas carols?  Beyond tradition and nostalgia?

Perhaps we find the Baby Jesus in places we’d never expect.

      Have you ever heard the Russian legend of Babushka?  It seems that old grandmother

Babushka, a good and kindly woman, was about to retire for the evening.  Out of the fierce win-

ter night came a knock at her door.  It was the wise men, and they told her excitedly about the

king born in Bethlehem.  They strongly urged Babushka to come and honor him.  She peeked

out the door, but it was an awful night; cold and blustery.  Babushka looked back at her warm

bed, hesitated, and replied, “I will see the Christ Child……tomorrow.”  She returned to her bed.

       No sooner had she gotten under the blankets when there was another knock at her door. 

This time it was the shepherds urging her to come; and if not, to at least give them a basket of

goodies to bring to the Christ Child.  Again, Babushka looked at the weather, then at her bed,

and hesitated.  She finally answered, “I’ll bring the basket of goodies myself…… tomorrow.” 

      Well, tomorrow came, and Babushka was good to her word.  She packed some food and off

she went to Bethlehem.  But she found the stable empty when she got there.  She was disap-

pointed, but determined.  She kept searching.  In fact, she looked for the Child for the rest of

her life, joining all the wanderers who had ever lived.  In her endless journey, Babushka found

children; found them everywhere.  She found many a manger.  She found many a cradle.  She

found many a mother nursing her baby.  She left gifts at each place, hoping that it was the

Christ Child. 

      Now very old, and nearing death, Babushka laid in her bed, no longer able to search.  As she

lay there, the Christ Child appeared to her, wearing the face of every child she had ever

touched and offered gifts to.  She died happily, knowing that -- in spite of her first hesitancy –

she did indeed find the Child; not in the manger where she expected Him, but in the poor and

needy where she never expected Him.

      In this season, we often hear a theological term: incarnation.  In its simplest terms, it means

God in the flesh.  We speak of Jesus Christ being the incarnation; the human – the flesh and

blood – expression of God’s divine nature.  Jesus spoke of this incarnation at His last supper when

asked by disciple Philip, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”  Jesus

answered Him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me?

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father……. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the

Father is in me.”  In the prologue of that same Gospel, John reflects on this incarnation when

he writes, “And the Word [referring to Jesus] became flesh and lived among us, and we have

seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

      While Jesus was, is, and will always be God’s clearest and fullest expression of humanity –

“as of a father’s only son – I believe that Jesus is Himself incarnated in others.  Through the

work of His Holy Spirit, we find Christ brought to life before our eyes – in acts of mercy,

compassion, forgiveness;  in the practice of goodness, righteousness, justice; and in trials, pain,

suffering.  In short, we find Christ alive and active in the hands, hearts, and faces of others;

even of the littlest and most helpless ones;  perhaps there more than anywhere else.  It is often

in their eyes and their faces that we find the Christ Child; the Baby Jesus, who we seek most

intensely during this season.

      Another story; not a legend, but a true one.  In World War II, a young soldier was on duty on

Christmas morning.  It had been his custom to go to church every Christmas morning with his

family.  But now, in service to outlying districts of London, this was impossible.  So with some of

his soldier buddies, he walked down the road which led to the city as dawn was breaking.  Soon,

they came upon an old, grey, stone building.  Over the main door were carved the words

“Queen Ann’s Orphanage.”  So they decided to knock and see what kind of celebration was

taking place there.

      In response to their knock, a matron came to the door.  She explained that all the children

there were orphans whose parents had been killed in the many bombings that had taken place

in London.  The soldiers went inside just as the children were tumbling out of bed.  There was

no Christmas tree in the corner.  There were no gifts.  So the soldiers moved around the room

wishing the children “Merry Christmas” and giving them whatever they had in their pockets:  a

stick of gum, a Life Saver, a nickel or dime, a pencil, a pocket knife, a good luck charm.  The sol-

dier who had gotten his buddies together noticed a tiny boy alone in a corner.  He approached

him and said, “And you, little guy, what do you want for Christmas?”  The child replied, “Will

you hold me.”  The solider, tears brimming in his eyes, picked up the boy and held him in his

arms very close. 

      A month or so later, his family received a letter.  In it, the soldier wrote, “Dear Mom and

Dad, I miss you all so much, and I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you at Christmas.  But this year, for

the first time in my life, I met the Baby Jesus.  His name was Oliver.” 

      Where do we find the Christ Child?  Where do we find Jesus in the flesh all these years after

His birth, in a manger, in the little town of Bethlehem?  Perhaps in the places and faces we least

expect; in the eyes of the littlest ones.  The angels said, “This will be a sign for you.”  In this

Christmas season, and throughout the year, may the Christ Child be revealed to us in clarity,

in charity, in love, and in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. 

 

Central Presbyterian Church

47 Second Street NE
Massillon, Ohio 44646

Telephone: 330-832-7455
Fax: 330-832-7102