Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where's Baby Jesus?

Well, this morning in church the absolutely sweetest thing ever happened. I'll never forget it.

A little girl, maybe around 4 years old, has been coming to church with her grandmother for 3 or 4 weeks now. I baptized her a few years ago, I'll be baptizing her baby brother on the Sunday after Christmas. As I was making my announcements before the service started she made her way up the aisle and when I was finished she was standing in front of me and asked "Where's Baby Jesus?" I said he'd be coming in a few weeks, meaning when we decorate the church for Christmas and get out the ceramic nativity. I thought later, what a perfect question. I don't know if her question was that profound but how many people do come to church looking to find Jesus? And in our scripture readings, hymns, sermons, and meal, do they find him?

Well, that wasn't the sweetest thing yet. A few minutes later, after singing the gathering hymn, lighting the first candle on the Advent wreath, praying a prayer of blessing and the prayer of the day, I sat down on the chancel steps and called the children forward. The same little girl sat right in front of me, maybe four feet away from me. I was trying to talk to them about today's gospel reading, about being prepared, ready, anticipating, expecting the coming of Jesus and how we might find him in some very ordinary everyday things. I used examples of doing something nice for a friend, sticking up for someone on the playground when they're being picked on, or the love we get from our parents when they hug us, kiss us, and tuck us into bed. In those ordinary instances, I said God is there.

While I'm talking she keeps whispering, *pastor,* *pastor.* I tried to ignore her and finish my talk, figuring I'd see what she wants when I'm done, before I send them off to Sunday School. Well, she wouldn't be ignored and all of a sudden she was standing in front of me. So I stopped and asked what she wanted and she leaned in and kissed me on the forehead. Everyone who could see couldn't help but say "Awwwwww!" I was so touched, so flabberghasted, I lost my place, must have blushed profusely, it was so totally unexpected. When I got back to what I was talking about I said that in just that kind of action, God is there and if we're on the lookout then we'll notice God's presence in loving acts.

I haven't been able to forget that moment. All day long it has come back to mind. It was a wonderful, unexpected, sweet and touching moment that I'll really never forget.

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