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Have you seen the baby Jesus?

Early in Epiphany (the church season that follows Christmas) last year, I started asking around: “Have you seen the baby Jesus—the one that goes with my Guatemalan crèche?”

The responses were one and the same—no.

As in previous years, I had brought my Guatemalan and Israeli crèches out of storage, presented them to the holiday decorators at the dawn of Advent, and had invited them to incorporate both into our Cherryland Nacimiento in the Sanctuary foyer.

Unfortunately, things got a bit bollixed up last January. The Guatemalan baby Jesus did not make it back to my office as planned. Mary and Joseph made the journey. The angel Gabriel, the shepherds, and kings made it safe and sound to storage, but not the little baby Jesus.

I was thus left to wonder: “Where, oh where, had the little baby Jesus gone?”

I didn’t discover the answer until Dec 1, 2018.

It turned out that the Guatemalan baby Jesus had been carefully wrapped and transported to the Art Room last January where it remained in storage until decorating day 2018.

On Dec 1, 2018 the baby Jesus was returned to the Nacimiento. I noticed him just a day later, covered in a colorful blanket and nestled in his manger bed, surrounded by a cast of gringos.

There he was—the Guatemalan Jesus—in all his glory and vulnerability. There he was, much like the 250+ unaccompanied minors who are enrolled in the Hayward Unified School District, whose parents cashed in everything to send them north—north to survive, and maybe, to thrive—in spite of the incessant civil war and economic quagmire in their native land.

I wonder, have you seen the little baby Jesus? The one depicted in the faces of unaccompanied minors in the Hayward school district—the ones who were packed up and sent away for safety’s sake and who now reside in gringo families?

If you have, then you have seen the face of Christ, and you know what Epiphany is all about.

Wishing you a blessed Epiphany,

Pastor Arlene