Luke 2:1-7

I was in an Op Shop the other day, and what did I find? A Jigsaw puzzle. A puzzle called “The Story of Christmas.” And it appealed to me, because it had no picture on the box, and because it had five pieces missing—and it said so right on the box. Now I like a good mystery, and it was good to have less pieces to put together.

Unfortunately by the time I got it home there were more pieces missing—I lost a few on the way. But I wasn’t too upset. Indeed, I thought that that would make even less pieces to put together. But then, when I finally opened the box, I found there were only four pieces left.

So out of a box of five hundred pieces (less the five that were missing to start with) I’ve got four pieces of a jigsaw puzzle left. Four pieces which tell “The Story of Christmas. There’s a piece with what looks like a piece of roast turkey on it. There’s a piece which looks like an unopened present on it. There’s a piece with a bit of mistletoe on it. And of course, there’s a bit of sky.

Now, I know that it’s unlikely that these pieces will fit together. Nevertheless, I am still confident that with these four pieces I can get an idea of what “The Story of Christmas” is all about.

Now I can see/imagine that some of you are shaking your heads. You’re thinking I’ve lost it. You’re thinking I’ve gone mad, “How can he have the (whole) Story of Christmas, when he’s only got four pieces left? He’s got no picture, and no two pieces fit together.” And you’re right. I can’t possible have the whole story. But isn’t that the reality for most people at Christmas?

Indeed, the reality is that most people celebrate Christmas with only a few pieces of the puzzle. They might know a few of the pieces around the edge, but they may be totally ignorant of the big story in the middle. People will have and enjoy the trappings of Christmas—the turkey, the presents and the mistletoe—and whatever else is their custom. But how many will join in and celebrate the purpose that we celebrate Christmas?

What is missing from many people’s celebrations is the reason for the birth of God’s son—God’s intervention in the world to save us from ourselves. The baby Jesus, born to grow up to face life as we face it, but with the deliberate intention of sacrificing himself so that we can have a full and proper relationship with our creator. An act that surely demands a response, and not just by celebrating a few pieces of the Christmas puzzle each year.

Jigsaw puzzles aside, then, have we got only part of the puzzle? Or do we have all the pieces? And, if we do have some pieces missing, which ones are they? Are they pieces around the outside or even the corners, or are they the main pieces in the middle? This Christmas, let’s make sure we have all the pieces.

Posted: 23rd November 2018
© 2018, Brian A Curtis