This morning in church we heard about 150 Jesus stones. A few days ago a group painted stones each with the round face of the baby Jesus peering out from his swaddling clothes. A wide range of artistry was on display! Certainly, each was unique. Varnished and weather-proofed these were taken by members of the congregation last Sunday and hidden around the village of Histon in all kinds of public spaces. Then the pastor and others went into the village schools and invited the children to find the hidden Jesus along the paths, greens, by trees (who knows where!) Apparently playgrounds buzzed with anticipation as children prepared to find Jesus in the village. They were encouraged to bring any stones they had found to church on Friday when they would be given a book and bag of sweets.....and they could keep their stones too.
Well, today we heard some of the stories. Children running home saying 'We have found the baby Jesus.' One parent saying (with approval) 'Finding the baby led to the first theological conversation in our house!' Over 60 children came to church for their books and sweets with great excitement that they had found Jesus. You can imagine the congregation's delight when we heard the outcome.
I was left marveling at the imagination of the project (thought up by others but adopted so enthusiastically). What a great idea to 'find the baby Jesus' in the village! How unforgettably it brought to mind the profound truth that Jesus Christ was born among us. In the translation of Eugene Peterson: 'The Word became flesh and blood, and move into the neighborhood' (John 1: 14). Yes, us
We have several village experiences to come, including carol singing in some of the pubs with brass accompaniment later this week. How good it will be to get excited about finding Jesus in Histon.