I was doing some cleaning the other day – you know, the kind of cleaning you only do every-once-in-a-while because it involves moving furniture. As I moved my dresser to vacuum beneath it, there it was, covered in dust, an old photograph that I had given up ever finding. “I found it!” came out of my mouth as I flipped it over to see the memory captured on it. Suddenly, the drudgery of cleaning disappeared as I sat on the edge of my bed reliving the memory of that family trip to Medora, ND in the summer of 2002.
As I carefully wiped the dust from the photo and returned it to the top of the dresser, the thought hit me, “How can a simple 4 x 6-inch photograph bring me such joy?” It is really not much of a picture, after all, just a snapshot of my three kids and I with our heads sticking out of a hotel pool in North Dakota. We have certainly been to more exciting places – Glacier National Park, Disney World, etc. But the value of the picture is not in its setting, it is in the people I’m with and in the relationship I have with each one of them.
This December, as we relive the Christmas story once again, may we hear God’s elation through it all as he declares to us “I found you!” Tougher than moving a dresser, and certainly dirtier than cleaning the dust beneath it, God moved heaven and earth to get to us. He sent his Son down into the hidden places of our dark and dirty world to find us, and to the cross to wipe away our sins forever. That is what this story is all about. As the Apostle Paul put it,
"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners..." (1 Timothy 1:15)
And like the photo under the dresser, it is the value of God’s relationship with each one of us that gives the Christmas Story its power. The value of relationship seen in God giving his own Son, giving him to restore dusty and dirty sinners to the family bond between a fatherly God and his wayward children. Relationship, that is after all, why God created us; and that is why when we fell into sin and away from him, he sent his Son to find us, clean us, and return us to where we belong – forever with him.
The manger and the cross; they tell us that God values his relationship with us. And, because of Jesus, we are back on the top of God’s dresser. Have a very merry Christmas this year, and come Christmas Eve, don’t be afraid to let out the joyful Christmas shout, “He found us!”
To God be the glory