It is bad enough that Sooby has gone home from her two-day visit and the house is unnaturally quiet and boring. However, that sad fact is nothing compared to the devastating discovery I happen upon shortly after her departure: Baby Jesus has gone missing.
Yes, the little stable I set up for the kids to play with down by the Christmas tree is minus its star player. The three kings stand there holding out their gifts in vain. After all, even a sage known for his wisdom is lost at the prospect of a full jar of frankincense and no one to give it to. Mary holds up her hands in wonder at the empty space between her and Joseph where the object of their mutual admiration so recently lay. Only the cow and the donkey seem relatively unaffected as they occupy their spots on either side of the little creche.
I look everywhere I can think of to find the missing baby. I carefully study the spaces between the branches of the Christmas tree lest he be lodged somewhere next to a candy cane. I shine a flashlight underneath the living room couch and chair to discover only three Lite-Brite pegs and a handful of Hi-Ho crumbs. I empty the plastic tub of stuffed Dalmatian puppies to find only two objects out of place among them: a Miss Piggy doll and the Golden Book story of The Nutcracker. I am distressed to say the least.
The day wears on, however, and I more or less forget that Baby Jesus has gone AWOL. I do some shopping and wrap a present or two. Later, walking by my bathroom, I notice a fragment of color on the floor just behind the door. Thinking that a washcloth has dropped from the rack above, I stoop down to retrieve it--only to find Baby Jesus himself, complete with swaddling clothes and manger, nestled there instead. I smile as I pick him up and return him to his rightful place between Mary and Joseph. Cancel the Amber Alert. The baby has been found safe. The nativity set is whole again.
I later learned that Baby Jesus' relocation to the upstairs bathroom had been aided and abetted by Sooby. Apparently, she had carried him upstairs with her and placed him on the floor, only to become distracted and forget she had done that.
I find a lesson in this for myself and perhaps for you as well: Should any of us misplace Baby Jesus amid the distractions of the season, He will wait patiently to be re-discovered. Just don't be surprised if you encounter Him in some unusual place where you might never have thought to look.