In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday season many people head out with shopping list in hand and cell phone at their ear, multi-tasking and hurrying to get to a sale and bring home gifts to wrap. Few seem to pause and reflect on reason they set out in the first place. Even fewer stop and listen to the Holy Spirit whisper to their hearts about the beauty they are shown in each magical moment that Jesus gives.
The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize for a story about violin virtuoso Joshua Bell’s incognito performance in a Washington subway in January 2007. In 45 minutes he played pieces (two by Bach), some of the most beautiful and technically difficult musical compositions ever written on a $3.5 million handcrafted 1713 Stradivarius violin. Of nearly 1100 passers-by, 27 people tipped a total of $32, and only 7 stopped to listen, and 1 recognized him for who he was. Three nights earlier he sold out a Boston theater with seats of $100. It was an interesting social experiment to determine if people would recognize beauty in a mundane setting at an inconvenient time.
The same thing happened a little over 2000 years ago. The hustle and bustle of a census being taken, a man and his pregnant wife entered Bethlehem and couldn’t find room at the inn, and had to settle in and share the night with the animals in a manger… a mundane setting at an inconvenient time. It was here, that the Creator of All That Is, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, came humbly into our realm as a baby to live among us, and show us the Way back Home. A few shepherds stopped to listen to the amazing news told to them by angels, and hurried to see the new-born King. Yes, those dirty, smelly, bottom-of-the-social ladder shepherds. Go figure.
So my question to you is this: will you stop and listen? Will you recognize Him for who He is?
See http://www.snopes.com/music/artists/bell.asp for details on violinist Joshua Bell’s performance.