Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 2 Peter 2:12 ESV
Last year the nativity scene at the entrance to our community was hit by raiders who must have decided that it would be a great joke to make off with the baby Jesus, leaving an empty manger. The rest of the Christmas season Mary, and Joseph remained along with a few sheep and camels but the child did not return even for Christmas Eve.
When December of this year rolled around I looked forward hopefully to a reunited Holy Family. But my hopes were dashed when I saw the same lonely group appear forlornly kneeling around an empty place on the hay. And then this morning Jesus made His appearance. No doubt this Baby in the Manger is firmly anchored and watched over by security cameras.
Just like last year’s manger robbers, some of our lives have been robbed of a Christmas joy and are facing the holiday alone, tired and maybe even bored with the entire ritual. But we have a hope and a far better one than the replica of baby Jesus in a manger scene. We have God’s promise that just as wise men traveled thousands of miles with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, Jesus has promised to return with His gifts of forgiveness, peace and eternal life. So whether we live alone in an apartment, lie in a hospital bed or are blessed with a loving family: we have hope. Our King will certainly return and when He does He has promised to fill forever that empty place that waits for Him in our hearts.