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Like many families during the Christmas season, our family had a few unique traditions to celebrate the Christmas festivities. Our young son Greg was imaginative and very creative; so each year on Christmas morning when we gathered in our family room around the tree, there was at least one gift from him to a member of the family that was given by way of a treasure hunt. It made the celebration a time of anticipation for all of us.
The first small package that was opened contained a clue in poetic form that would lead his selected receiver to a location in another part of the house to find the second clue, also in poetic form. This went on for at least four or five trails to different locations. The final trail would take the receiver right back to the gift which had now been placed carefully in the spot where that person had been sitting, surrounded by the rest of the family gathered around the tree, awaiting expectantly to see what was in the package. What fun it was when the gift was finally opened!
What a picture of the great "treasure hunt gift" that God gave the world on that first Christmas morning. God's directions, however, were not written in poetic form but spoken by His selected messengers.
The precious family from Nazareth looked for an inn to spend the night but was given Clue One from the innkeeper and sent instead to the stable to sleep. Clue Two came to Mary and knowing that her time of delivery was here, they prepared a place for her newborn, the Son of God, in a manger of straw.
The shepherds on the hillside, wearily sleeping on the ground by their sheep, were awakened when suddenly there came Clue Three, "an angel in a voice they had never before heard" spoke to them and they listened to the message of a Savior born in Bethlehem. Clue Four, a sign: "You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." The overwhelming final one, A host of angels surrounded them and they heard the thunderous praise to the giver of the gift, "Glory to God in the highest."
Just as the receiver of the directions around our tree is filled with excitement and anticipation and hurries to each location to find the next poetic direction, so the shepherds, filled with excitement and anticipation, hurried to Bethlehem awaiting expectantly to see this "clue gift" that had been announced by the angel and reaffirmed by the multitude of angels.
As the search leads to the final location and the gift is opened, that anticipation is replaced by quiet realization and satisfaction. So the shepherds, when they got to the place where the final sign had led them, approached the infant Jesus and his mother Mary, and they worshiped in quiet reverence and awe.
And then with excitement, joy, and noisy glee the receiver realizes–it is something well worth the treasure hunt. The shepherds, also filled with excitement and joy, knew it was worth the treasure hunt and told everyone about their wonderful sign and the message, "Unto you is born a Savior. Glory to God in the highest." It is truly a Treasure Gift worth receiving!
This year make your Christmas time an exciting one, filled with joy and sharing about the unique and creative Gift God gave that first Christmas morning to the shepherds in those Bethlehem hills as they followed the clues and went to find their Messiah.
Copyright © 2013 by Emily L. Pippin. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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