Faith & Family

Christmas without Jesus?

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Edward Duke

Christmas time is coming! Hang the greens. Put the ornaments on the tree. String the lights. Mail the Christmas cards. Buy the presents.

Wait! Did I forget something? Is that everything? I feel like I’m forgetting something. What could it be?

I look around the room and notice a box under a table. I bend down and pull it out. It’s the manger scene. We forgot to put out the manger scene. I take out the pieces one by one: the shepherds, the angels, the animals, Joseph, Mary, and the manger.

I keep reaching down into the box. Where is Jesus? How can you have a manger scene without Jesus? Then I realize what I had truly had been missing. How can you have Christmas without Jesus?

I stop and pray to God and ask him to forgive me for my carelessness. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, I had forgotten what it is all about. I start to take out all the paper wrappings to find Jesus. I became like a kid opening presents on Christmas day. I had to find Jesus!

Finally, there was something small, wrapped – as if in swaddling clothes. I carefully unwrap the tiny baby statue and hold it in my hand. Tears came to my eyes as I realize what God had done. He came from the glories of a perfect place with no tears, pain, or sorrow. He did not come as a mighty prince born in a palace. He came as a normal, ordinary, poor, homeless, infant. Not laid in a bed made of gold, but put in a feeding trough. Not born with the announcement of trumpets, but announced only to some shepherds in a field.

The Christmas Manger in downtown Franklin.

Here I was in a nice warm home with many presents and more than I really needed. I was so wrapped up with my life that I forgot that he gave up His for me. I kneel down and place the tiny statue in the manger. I thank God, my heavenly Father, for loving me so much. I thank Jesus, my Savior, for living a human life and dying for my sins. I thank the Holy Spirit, my guide, for helping me to see what it is all about.

Merry Christmas and remember Jesus is THE reason for the season.

Edward Duke grew up in Franklin from 4th grade at Cowee Elementary (now Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center) to graduating from Franklin High in 1994. He is the author of the book, “The Kid That Got Coal for Christmas.”