Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
I have spent the last three years of my life really organizing Christmas. The attic where I store the boxes for seasonal decorations—summer and fall wreaths and roadside signs for the whiskey barrel by the mailbox across the street; artificial Christmas trees and canning supplies, summer folding chairs and picnic baskets—has undergone a transformation. Witness the fact that I can actually walk in it without needing to push baskets and stacks of stored things aside.
First, I returned all the items that I had been storing for my four adult children. It’s amazing what grown kids will leave in their parents’ home if they are not prodded to remove them. Then, I engineered the classic stack-purge-and-store process.
Summer items were all moved into one corner as were the Christmas boxes and the fall and spring items pushed into other segmented attic areas. I opened every box. I taped identifying labels to the outside of each storage container. And, for Christmas, I took photographs on my cell phone and made up a notebook so that I could remember how the arrangements had both been designed and then where they were displayed.
Basement Christmas items were stored in the nearby furnace room and in the old ice trunk in the laundry room. I made notes on each page as to where everything had been hidden away. It is easy to forget year to year exactly where those items were resting after their exhausting seasons.
The first things that get displayed are the outside decorations—greens in the pots (before it freezes), the roadside arrangement (I finally found the perfect place to plant those old sleds I had considered ditching last year), and lighting—simple spotlights to shine on the front door wreath and on the beautiful NOEL banner a friend who is a fabric artist made for me. Outdoor wreaths also go up on the lights by the garage and on the trellis by the front patio. Hopefully, I beat the bitter cold before it creeps into the Chicago area with its freezing rains and icy winds.
Then, the house inside gets decorated, floor by floor, and finally, on Christmas Eve, I hang the NOEL banner as a final sign of joyful celebration. Except this year, despite my hard-core organizational efforts, I could not find the NOEL banner. Where had I put it? I searched through drawers and boxes and bureaus but nothing yielded the lovely blue and white outdoor artwork. My prayer journal began to record my frustration with pleas for help to locate the piece I traditionally hang before we go to the Christmas Eve Midnight Service. “Find Natalie’s NOEL banner” is noted for several days in my prayer lists.
Then, while scrounging around in the furnace room shelves (where I now have a light that works) and while looking for an empty storage box (for the parts that the little grandchildren have broken off the dollhouse), I suddenly spied the NOEL banner, rolled neatly on its flagpole, pinned then tucked into the large brown and cream pickle crock where I store the American flags (all eight of them) that get hung out each summer on Flag Day. Of course, now I remember: I had rolled it (not folded it) sometime in February in readiness for the coming Advent season this December. I found it on Monday, December 24, 2012—Christmas Eve.
Found things! Sometimes to the best of my ability (well, actually, quite frequently to the best of my ability and despite my attempts to be organized) I lose things. Yet, how kind of my loving Heavenly Father who understands my rather desperate need to organize the materiality of my life, to let me find the NOEL banner on exactly the day that I needed it.
This seems like a little kindness—after all, would my Christmas decorating world have ended had I found the banner on January 8th?—hardly. But it is a beautiful banner, made by a good friend, and it proclaims, shining bright blue and white in the spotlight in the dark, for all those who pass on the sidewalk or on the street, This is a season of good news. God is with us.
Thank you, God, for little kindnesses.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.