The garland is carefully hung with twinkling lights and bows.  The tree sparkling like stars in the clear night sky, sits adorned with the colors of the season.  Snowflakes and ornaments drop down from the ceiling just low enough to catch every eye.  Santa’s throne awaits that mystical character to arrive for a visit with every little boy and girl that walks through the doors. The sounds of Christmas are streaming through the airwaves as guests stop in for a quick bite.

Everything is in place, or is it? Where’s the manger scene depicting the blessed holy night of our Savior’s birth?  How do we celebrate Christmas without shepherds, angels, the bright star, wise men and of course the baby Jesus born of the virgin Mary? I have struggled with this scenario at my place of employment for the last two Christmas seasons. As much as I would love to place a manger scene in the restaurant, it is not my decision.

I have become a little more vocal this year about my disappointment that Jesus is not represented on his birthday. My co-worker has incorporated the real reason for the season with a book about a little shepherd on the search for Jesus. She hides a shepherd doll in the dining room once a week for guests to hide and enter in a contest to win the book and doll that comes in a manger scene box. My first thought was the little shepherd won’t find Jesus in our restaurant, but in my God-ordained “stillness” (a broken wrist and surgery), He quietly said, “Yes, he will because ‘you’ are the Jesus I want in the restaurant. I put you there for a reason.”

Years ago I prayed for this job.  As a former elementary school teacher and stay-at-home, I began praying that God would drop a job in my lap if he wanted me to return to the work force when my only child went to college.  I was even bold enough to give God certain criteria.  What’s so awesome is that he did exactly what I asked for! So it’s been three years since God positioned me at this place of employment and now He is giving me another opportunity to represent him well.

In Luke 10:1 we read that “the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place he was about to go.”  I am so encouraged by this! The Lord has done this for me by giving me an awesome, fearless partner in this endeavor.  Did you notice that Jesus sent them to every town and place he was about to go? Could it be that my business partner and I are like those seventy-two? Have we been sent to be the “Jesus” in our restaurant until He comes himself?  And I know we are not alone. We are blessed to work alongside others who are “Jesus” every day of the year.

We don’t need to worry or fear what people say or think about us. Jesus told the seventy-two, “Whoever listens to you, listens to me; whoever rejects you, rejects me, but whoever me rejects Him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). Like the seventy-two, our loving, Christ-like words and actions can be the healing balm that will lead a hurting world to the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ!

Dedicated to my Prayer Warrior friend Lisa Ashe

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