Our children love this ornament due to the nights that have been spent leading up to Christmas day when each child takes a turn to hide the pickle on the tree. A simple game where one chooses the perfect hiding place and the rest of us race to the tree to find that prized pickle, with the winner awarded their turn to hide it again! Last year, my husband took his turn and cleverly decided to hang the ornament in plain sight. My children and I searched that tree for probably 20 minutes until finally one of our children triumphantly found the ornament. We stood there laughing and frustrated wondering how on earth we missed it?
As I think on this experience, I have mixed emotions. On one hand I chuckle at the thought of how long and hard we searched for that ornament, and on the other I am soberly reminded of the arrival of our Savior and how many people missed what was there in plain sight.
The confusion isn’t at all unwarranted, afterall, why would the King of the universe have parents like Mary and Joseph? Why would He come as a lowly child? Why would He be born in a stable? And why would the Savior of the universe be laid in a manger for a bed?…
According to our expectations the King of the universe should come in visual splendor, with a triumphant entrance with trumpets, singing and dancing! Shouldn’t He come the way we expect?
A legitimate question, but studying His word identifies that the way in which He came speaks volumes about the God in which we serve. A God demonstrating that which He is seeking; those with a servant’s heart, those that are not a respecter of persons, those that understand that the least shall be great. A God that does not base His reign on the expectations of His people. A God that isn’t too high to humbly wrap himself into the body of the most helpless form of existence. A God of unending love for His creation willing to do anything to persuade the hearts of his children into reconcilation. Yet, people were so caught in their own ideas of His arrival that they missed Him and these truths all together…and…sometimes we make the exact same mistake. No, we don’t reject His birth but we do tend to skip over and get distracted from the true purpose and reason for this special time of year.
This is a beautiful season, a time of giving, blessing, family, and presents – all things that make Christmas so wonderful – yet all things that possess the ability to pull our focus into the creation of the perfect Christmas, shifting it away from the purposeful celebration it already is – rememberance of the birth of the One that sits there right before us in plain sight. The One that is there each and every day working a way for us whether we acknowledge Him or not. The One that came for us to bring us life – to bring us back into relationship with Him. The One that provides the home that we celebrate in, the family we are surrounded by, the finances to purchase the gifts we will give. The One that gives us hope, the One that gives us purpose. The One that was born to die so that we can live…let us remember these next few days to step back and focus on the Gift that sits right there in plain sight. Let us celebrate His existence, and the priceless gift that is Him. Let us take that step back, stress a little less…and Choose Him.