News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Jeff Gardner

Christ is Christmas centerpiece

Everything was in its place.

The tree was in the perfect spot with the lights and ornaments strategically placed to look like the tree jumped out of "Southern Living" and into our home.

The Snow Village was set up, too, and lighted to look like our own little snow-covered town. The stockings were hung by the chimney with precision and care.

The scene of the first Christmas was set up in the living room, but something was missing. Then it hit all of us at the same time. Where was the baby Jesus?

We had lost the centerpiece of Christmas. The first thought that crossed my mind was that Drew, my 1-year-old, had taken the King of Kings and placed him in the toilet. He likes to take things to the bathroom and put them in the water. I ran to the back to check. Big sigh of relief. No baby Jesus in the toilet. Where could he be?

We diligently searched for Jesus. We looked everywhere. Under this. Over that. Where could he be? Finally, we found the baby Jesus safely tucked away in the playroom with some other things that Drew had collected.

There was much rejoicing, for we had found the centerpiece of Christmas. As a family, we carried the baby back to his special spot.

I cannot help but think back to the first Christmas and the Magi who were looking for the one born the king of the Jews. When they found him, they were overjoyed. They bowed down and worshipped him. They opened their treasures and gave gifts to the king.

In the busyness of the holidays, take time to look for the centerpiece of Christmas. You will find him. When you find him, make sure that he is in the right place. After you make sure that he is in the right place, take time to worship him.

Merry Christmas!

Jeff Gardner, minister to students at Westmeade Baptist Church, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for THE DAILY. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468 on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

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