In her book, Who Am I, God? Marjorie Holmes asks the Lord to look after all who get lost at Christmas.
Who are these lost ones about whom Holmes is so concerned?
Little folks lost in stores running about in panic crying for their mothers and big folks lost in the confusion of crowded parties and crowded lives, with drugs, drink and sex as mistaken goals.
She also prays for husbands and wives lost to each other through habit and neglect and misunderstanding as well as sons and daughters lost to their parents.
While visiting the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., we were once separated from our youngest son, Timothy. Captivated by the lure of interesting displays all around us, we momentarily took our eyes off him and that was all the time he needed to disappear.
Suddenly the trinkets and treasures of this famous place lost their value. Our son was missing and nothing else mattered. Thankfully, we soon found our lost one unharmed. He had just quietly made his way down a Smithsonian aisle, wide eyed and curious, taking in the sights; but I still remember the feeling of weakness and loss I felt when he wandered away; a memory that helps me understand the reason for Christmas.
Marjorie Holmes concludes her prayer for all lost ones with a moving call to Bethlehem’s manger. Asking mercy for those who are lost at Christmas, she prays: “Reach out your arms to us, lead us gently back into the warm shelter of the stable. Let us gaze upon the miracle of the manger. Let us become one with it, drawing new hope from it and a sense of new worth so that we know we are very dear to You so that we are less likely to stray.”
The babe Mary laid in the manger on that holy night would one day compare Himself to a shepherd seeking wandering sheep to bring each of them back to the safety of the fold; never being satisfied if even one of them was in danger.
No wonder shepherds were the first to be notified by angels of the birth of Jesus. These humble men who made their way to Bethlehem’s stable to worship the newborn Savior knew all about straying sheep and what was involved in finding and returning them to the fold. They could easily see themselves as wandering ones who needed a shepherd to bring them home.
Gazing into the manger that first Christmas night with Mary and Joseph standing nearby, the shepherds saw the One who would later say He had come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). So there’s hope for all who are lost at Christmas.
Some may wonder what became of our son who was lost in the Smithsonian.
He discovered a greater treasure than can be found in museums and wrote:
Jesus! Word who dwelt among us,
Whose nativity we adore;
Giver of the gift most wondrous,
Dwell within us evermore. …Timothy Campbell
Roger Campbell is an author, broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org