Tis the season where traditions are created and followed – many of us may not even remember how they began. Some are faith based; some sweet and some can be downright troublesome.
The Christmas scavenger hunt tradition began the year my husband got me a ring as a gift. But he didn’t want to just have it wrapped under the tree. No that would be too simple. So he and my mom found another ring and put it in a designer jewel case and wrapped in expensive wrapping paper. My heart was aflutter at the anticipation of something special. Can you imagine my surprise when I opened the box to find the gaudiest, multi colored jeweled ring often found in a gumball machine? I looked at them both, not wanting to offend and unsure how to react or respond. Were they kidding me? Of course they were. I had to find my true gift buried within the limbs of a much decorated 8 Ft tree.
The year my husband gave me a little boudoir chair for my makeup table, he dismantled the entire chair, wrapped each piece individually (four legs, seat, and nuts and bolts) and sent me searching for each part. I joined in the year our teenage daughter wanted only CD’s; wrapping each one separately and sending her on a scavenger hunt throughout the house and garage. Oh, how about the year I lamented the state of our old, worn and badly chipped everyday dishes. By this time, my daughter was old enough to get in on the game. They found the set of dishes I had remarked as pretty and wrapped each place setting (12) each serving bowl (3), each platter (3), salt & peppers shakers, and cream and sugar set separately and hid them at my neighbors. After I had gone to bed on Christmas Eve, they collected all 20 packages, hid them not only in the house, garage, but in the back yard. To make matters worse, I was not allowed to open up any of the boxes until I had collected them all. I have to confess that by the time I collected them, my tummy was growling fiercely, my brain was fried, and I was more than a little cranky! When our Son-in-Love joined our family, and they were saving money for home improvements, we decided that we would send him on a money scavenger hunt. Each of the bills was in an envelope with a clue for the next. By this time our grandson was old enough to join in on the tradition.
Realizing that this tradition was getting a little out of hand, I decided to give back to the one who had started it all – my husband. Thad had found a painting that reminded him of his days growing up at the family farm. Unbeknownst to him, I purchased the painting, had it framed and hid it in the living room behind the upright piano. He never saw it! As Christmas morning approached, my daughter, son-in-love, grandson and myself conjured up the most difficult clues that would take him back and forth throughout the house, the garage, the yard, and even to our son in laws parents’ home on the other side of our community. Oh, yeah, it was a challenge. Clues like “Go where no man has gone before” were the many Star Trek Ornaments that adorn our tree, or “A pressing engagement” which could mean his calendar book or the iron. When he finally made it back after 26 hunts we moved the now wrapped painting in front of the piano with the last clue stating “Ebony and Ivory”. By this time, Thad was so intent on searching for little white index cards he failed to see the 5 ft x 4 ft package leaning against the piano bench!
Isn’t life a little like a scavenger hunt? We are all in search of something and there are clues along the way. It can be frustrating to figure out where we are going or where we should go. And what will we find along the way? Life is difficult and mentally exhausting at times. We may see the clues as obstacles rather than the presents of opportunities along the path. Our greatest present – Immanuel (God with us) was born so we would know God’s immense love. Through Jesus Christ we know where we are going and what we will find. Like the scavenger hunt we must stay alert with faithful expectation. For those of us who have faith in God, we know that if we seek Him, truly seek Him, the clues will lead us like the shining star of Bethlehem to the one and only Savior that is Jesus Christ. May you keep Christ in your heart, and throughout the scavenger hunt of life not just at Christmas time but all year long. Merry Christmas!