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Parenting is a challenging task that requires alertness, wisdom, perseverance, and assistance…and these can only come from God!

Raising our children in a rural suburb of Ohio, required us to bundle our children in layers of fabrics (swaddling clothes?) that often covered everything but their cherub-like faces during the winter months.

Every time we'd leave our homes, even for a short errand, we'd wrap our babies up in some sort of human bumper-proof "packaging." Once wrapped up, we'd pray that they would not have to go to the bathroom 10 minutes later. Then, while they played, we'd hope that they would allow us to achieve some sense of accomplishment for at least a few hours.

If we felt really brave, we took the kids shopping with us at the local mall.

Where Did He Go?
I remember one time how Christmas at the Kenwood Ohio mall was a buzz with scurrying mothers determined to gather the bargain-priced clothes, offered at an appreciable discount.

In the absorption of bargain shopping, my friend Karen realized that her little bundle, Andrea, was nowhere to be found! Our friend's child added to the trauma by shouting, "Da baby's missing!" Certainly, this was a nightmarish moment; and obviously, we quickly began the search for "da missing baby."

We are reminded of a moment in history when the Child, Jesus, was missing. Annually, His parents would journey to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and enjoy the Jewish feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.

Since many relatives and friends journeyed together, it was not unlikely for parents to believe that their children were in the trusted hands of beloved family or friends. With this in mind, Mary and Joseph headed back toward home, believing that Jesus was traveling with their group.

But, after inquiring of His whereabouts, they were stunned to learn that no one had seen Him in the caravan. Mary and Joseph, like any other parents, became frantic. "So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him" (Luke 2:45).

The Child Was Found
Fortunately, after only one hour of searching the store, my friend Karen found her daughter Andrea sleeping peacefully on the floor of a fitting room. Karen was hyperventilating from the stress of the moment!

Can you imagine what Mary and Joseph felt like? They did not find Jesus after searching for one hour or even after one entire day! Could they have begun to fear, doubt, and ask questions such as, "Where is our Child? Could He have lost His way? Could someone have trapped, deceived or kidnapped Him? Could He Have lost His life?"

During the searching, could hopelessness have set in? After all, He was their only son and it was known to them that God had a very special plan for Him!

Three Days Later
God's Son was missing! How could they ever explain that to anyone?

Three long days later, they found Him, debating the Scriptures in the temple with fascinated listeners. Though the Child was only 12 years old, He exhibited the wisdom of a sage!

That's The Baby Jesus
All of this reminds me of another little girl named Rachel, age four, currently lives in Florida. Her parents strictly forbade her grandparents from mentioning the name of Jesus around their children. Grandpa Rich and grandma Ann lived a Christ-like life before their grandkids, yet they did not mention His name, in agreement with the wishes of their daughter and son-in-law.

Last Christmas, Rachel and her sister Lauren were enjoying a day visiting their grandparents, when Rachel took notice of their nativity set. Rachel asked grandma, "Who is this Baby, Grandma?"

"Oh, Rachel, that's a very special baby!"

"Why, Grandma?"

"Honey, He's just real special!"

"What's His name, grandma?"

At that moment, Ann realized that she could not deny her granddaughter an answer, and more importantly, she could not deny her Lord! So she said, "That's the baby Jesus."

Rachel was intrigued and inquired further. Grandma Ann joyfully shared the gospel message with her tiny grandchild, who was visibly delighted! Upon the return of their mom, Rachel's sister Lauren said, "Grandma, the baby's missing!"

The girls' mom was suspicious so she searched their backpacks to make sure that they had not taken the Baby Jesus. Lauren's backpack proved her innocence, but Rachel had wrapped the Baby Jesus in her baby doll's blanket and hid Him deep within the pack.

When her mommy discovered the missing baby she scowled, "Rachel, you cannot have the Baby Jesus!" In her sage-like wisdom, Rachel responded, "Mommy, I love this Baby and no one is ever going to take Him away from me!"

Have You Found The Baby Yet?
Brothers and sisters, is the Baby missing from your life? Is He the cherished Centerpiece in your Christmas celebration? Is He foremost upon our minds throughout our days? In what ways have we denied the Lord? Do we daily wrap Him up in the coverlets of our heart and take Him everywhere? Have you looked for Him and found Him? I certainly hope so.
A Christmas Prayer
Blessed Lord, search our hearts…. Have we allowed the worries and cares of the world and the enemy of our souls to cause the manger of our hearts to be vacant? Father, how have we compromised our faith to please others and negated the One whom we have confessed? While on our journey, did we neglect to look for the evidence of the Christ in each circumstance and situation?

Have we ignored the promptings of Your Spirit and violated the principles of Your Temple? Lord, cause us to return to Jerusalem to seek after You! We invite You, Jesus, this Christmas and hereafter, to take residence in our hearts and to be our guiding Star, leading us daily that we may never lose sight of Your love, wrapped in swaddling clothes for all to behold, in Jesus Name, Amen!

Copyright © Leaves of Healing Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Lorraine Coconato
Web site: Leaves of Healing Tabernacle
Pastor Lorraine Coconato and her husband Frank of almost 40 years, along with their elder son, Pastor Todd Coconato, (Associate Pastor) have pastored Leaves of Healing Tabernacle in Chatsworth, CA for 6 1/2 years.

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