God is Closer Than You Think

imageJesus is found in the unlikeliest of places.
Against what you may have been told Mary and Joseph likely stayed beneath someone’s home, because there were no guest rooms in Bethlehem.  In their day, this is where people kept their animals. Not in a stable but a dark damp cave.

In the cave Jesus was placed in another unlikely place – a dusty brown manger.

Jesus, was found in a cave surrounded by animals and in a manger surrounded by filth.

Jesus came in the unlikeliest ways.
He came as a vulnerable fragile baby. Exposed to the elements and dependent on Mary and Joseph for his survival.

Jesus came to the unlikeliest person.
Mary a young 14-year-old girl who is betrothed to be married. A woman in a male dominated culture. A Jew in a Roman world. A poor peasant girl in an affluent society.

Mary was not royalty but she carried royalty for 9 months, she birthed royalty and she raised royalty. And because of her scandalous pregnancy, she lived among people who gave her judgmental looks.

As her community looked on her with shame Mary looked to God and the promise given to her by the angel Gabriel.  That she was highly favored and the Holy Spirit would conceive her a child.

Mary and her soon to be husband Joseph, would name him Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins.

The child to be born was Immanuel, God with us.

Jesus, the Son of God came to the unlikeliest of places, in the unlikeliest of ways, to the unlikeliest person.

If Jesus would have chosen to come the same way during our time it wouldn’t even make headlines. He would be born “right under our nose” and even though he would be easy to find, he wouldn’t be where we would look.

This makes me think of a “right under our nose” story that made national headlines in 1991.

ROANOKE, Va. — Tammy Harris had spent nearly a year looking for her biological mother. Joyce Schultz had been trying to find her daughter for nearly 20 years.

They lived two blocks from each other and had worked together at a convenience store for six months before Schultz’s eavesdropping led to the startling discovery that they were mother and daughter.

“It was just right under my nose all of this time,” Harris said Tuesday as she sat on the living room couch with her mother.

At their feet, Harris’ 17-month-old daughter, Maria, played with the baby pictures of her mother that helped bring about the reunion.

When Harris was 2, the state took her and two brothers from their mother and they were adopted by different families.

Schultz, 44, said the children were taken because she had a drinking problem. She said she stopped drinking a few years ago, remarried and started working at the convenience store.

Harris began searching for her parents on the day after her 21st birthday. She said she waited until she felt she was old enough to cope with whatever she might find out.

Last month, Harris was talking with a co-worker who asked if she was having any luck. Schultz said: “I overheard them and, being nosy, I asked, ‘Luck about what?'”

Harris produced her birth certificate. Schultz knew immediately that Harris was her daughter, but was afraid to say so, fearing she might be mistaken.

“I said: ‘I might know somebody who can help,’ ” Schultz said.

She asked Harris for a baby picture and took it home to compare it with photos of her daughter. “And when I did, boy, was I shocked. I said: ‘Oh my God, that is Tammy!’ “

Schultz said she was afraid her daughter wouldn’t like her and kept quiet for three days.

It was store manager Ron Lynch who brought them together in his office on Feb. 22 after Schultz told him the story.

Harris walked in, saw Schultz with the two pictures and asked: “Are you my mother?”

“When she said ‘yes,’ I just fell into her arms. It felt so natural. We held on for the longest time. It was the best day of my life.”


Maybe you are like Tammy Harris. You have been searching for someone or something that has been missing in your life. What Tammy didn’t realize was that her mother began searching for her long before Tammy began searching for her.

The other amazing thing that Tammy didn’t know was that her mother Joyce was one of her co-workers! Tammy’s mother was an unlikely person in the unlikeliest of places, a co-worker, working right next to her.

You may be searching for someone or something to bring you happiness – a sense of belonging – or love. What you may not have realized is Someone is searching for you and that He is closer than you think.

The story of Christmas is like Tammy’s story.

God is searching for you.

God is CLOSER than you think.

You will find him in unlikely places, in unlikely ways, and in unlikely people. In tragedy, in the middle of your grief, in your loneliness and despair you will find him. You will find him in a stranger, when times are good, when you’re in good health, when you are wealthy and it doesn’t even seem like you need him, there he will be right next to you.

Shepherds found him, Anna found him, Simeon found him, and Magi found him!

Jesus is waiting for you to make the discovery that He came to seek you out and he has never stopped seeking. He desires a close relationship with you so that he can introduce you to his heavenly Father, your heavenly Father.

Fall into Jesus’ arms and believe in him.

And when you do – it will be the best day in your life!

How is God closer than you think? If you are a follower of Christ, where/how did you find Him? Please leave your comments below.

Jovan preaches for the Littleton Church of Christ near Denver, Colorado. Visit here to listen to sermons preached at the Littleton Church. 

Posted by jovanbarrington


Not sure of your source for the dark, damp cave but see Kenneth E. Bailey (who recently passed from this life) “The Story of Jesus’ Birth” in “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes.” Bailey is persuasive in arguing that Jesus was born in the back room of a relative’s house that was used to keep animals during the night (tied up outside during the day) and Luke makes no mention of a commercial inn but the word refers to a guest room. That’s a very short version, but see http://www.sviewp.com/RCbook/Bailey-%20Christmas%20-%20Middle%20Eastern%20Eyes.pdf


Some ancient traditions believe Jesus to have been born in a cave. The room in some houses where they kept their animals were basements/caves.

True, and certainly possible for Jesus. From above link: Justin Martyr [c. AD 160] “grew up in the Holy Land … and he records that Jesus was born in a cave. This cave tradition is the universal assumption across all of the ancient Eastern Christian churches.”
I still recommend Bailey’s article for consideration. The entire original chapter is better than the longer summary in the linked PDF.