“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
We have a pickle on our tree. No, it is not a juicy kosher pickle you find in Jewish deli, but rather a blown glass pickle I believed was derived from an old German legend. According to the legend, parents in Germany would decorate the tree on Christmas Eve and hide a pickle among the branches. The next morning, the observant child who found the pickle would get another gift from St. Nicholas. Unfortunately, this legend has turned out to be an urban myth. There is a possible link to John Lower, a Bavarian immigrant, who was imprisoned during the Civil War, surviving on pickles during his imprisonment. He later decorated his tree every year with a pickle in honor of the food that had sustained him. Later, some merchants capitalized on this idea by asking some famous German glass blowers to create a pickle ornament. No matter where the legend came from, this little pickle has captured the attention of every child who has entered my home, providing a perfect game of hide and seek during the holidays. One year, the game got so competitive, we didn’t find the pickle until weeks later when we took our tree down!
Just like children who search for the pickle on the tree, many of the characters in the scripture were searching for the Messiah, including the shepherds, wise men, and Simeon. Only the shepherds were given a clear direction, while the wise men followed a star for hundreds of miles and Simeon was told by the Holy Spirit that within in his lifetime, he would meet the Messiah. Their searching is a reminder that I need to spend time seeking God. Scripture declares that seeking God will not only open my understanding of His character, but also that it will result in leaving me fulfilled. This Advent, I want to spend some time not just reflecting on the birth of Jesus, but truly seeking Him, and growing in my knowledge and faith. And, unlike the pickle, my searching will always result in finding God.