I used the following story to begin my Christmas Eve Sermon. This story came to me via a Brother-In-Christ and fellow Priest, Father Ed. It goes like this: There was a Minister of a small congregation who had completed Christmas Day worship. Upon inspecting the Church building before locking up, he glanced toward the large Nativity scene set in front of the Altar. His heart sank. You see, he discovered that the porcelain Baby Jesus and his Manger were gone. He had been in his office, could one of the Ladies of the Parish removed him? Why would they? Then various scenarios flooded his mind. Did someone off the street come in and run off with our Lord and Savior? He dashed towards the front doors and out into the world. Looking left then right, nothing. Where was Baby Jesus? What would he tell others about the Bambino? Finally, he saw something. In the park across the street was Timmy, a young boy from the Church Family, pulling a red wagon. Peeking out just above the top of the wagon, there was Baby Jesus, bouncing side to side. Had it been a human child, it would have gotten sick! The minister rushed over to confront Timmy. He stopped him and said “Timmy, just what on Earth do you think you are doing? Why have you stolen the Jesus?” Timmy, defensive and startled exclaimed “No sir! I have not stolen the Baby Jesus. You see, when my parents and I came to Christmas Eve worship, I knelt down before the baby and told him, If you would just give me a red wagon for Christmas, I will give you the first ride.”
Timmy’s story reminds me of how we all treat Jesus sometimes. First, we offer this for that scenarios when we call upon His name. Second, we take Jesus along for the ride in our lives, showing Him off to our friends and family. But is He really who He needs to be in our lives?
Unlock Timmy, Jesus needs to pull our wagon, rather than the other way around. He loves us more than we can fathom. He would love to “Give us a lift” as He guides us around life. We might say “I can’t tell which way we are going Jesus, turn here.” But on the contrary, Jesus leads us in the correct way.
So who are you in this relationship? Do you put Jesus in a “wagon” and show Him off to your friends, family and co-workers, or do others see that he is pulling your wagon, guiding your every move?
Let Him have control. He knows the way, He IS the way. Don’t be a part-time Christian who demands a full-time God.
Father Jason Bowden