At one point I was singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem". I love that carol. There I was looking for some crackers while singing these words from that great carol:
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.
I smiled. Like I said how can you miss it? Yet the reality is in the midst of the lights and the tinsel it's easy to miss the essence, the essential core of the season, isn't it? If you go back to Matthew 2 you'll read the story of the wise men. If you read the first 18 verses you'll be confronted with how King Herod missed Christmas.
That brings me back to the words of that wonderful carol. Why come silently? Why wouldn't you want EVERY ear to hear him coming? Why no fanfare? Maybe you're thinking... there was fanfare, remember the angels? True, but their announcement was not very strategic, was it? If you want to make noise, do it where it can be heard. I was in Dublin the other day. There was a protest over the new budget and the austerity measures being enacted here in Ireland. They met in front of the General Post Office on O'Connell Street, not in some obscure village square. They came to the center of this nation. They came to a place from where their protest might be heard.
So again, why did Jesus come to Bethlehem, a small village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the center of it all? Why a small stable, or cave? Remember we're talking about the advent of Christ, the coming of God into our world. We're talking about the saviour of humankind.
I'd at least have had posters, and an ad campaign on the TV, letting people know. Yet there was nothing. To be sure the shepherds shared what they had seen, but let's face it they probably didn't make the evening news.
That brings me back to Tesco. There on aisle 8 I found myself confronted with the coming of Christ, amidst biscuits and crackers... and I suddenly realized that's how Jesus comes. He comes not as a slogan, or a headline, he comes right down into my every day life. He enters into the real world and waits to be invited into my real life, not the headlines.
I wonder... Are you waiting for something special? Are you waiting for the WOW of Christmas? Perhaps we might discover, in the midst of the busyness of life, the coming of Christ in the last place on earth you expected him to come.... Maybe like me it will be amidst the biscuits and crackers on aisle 8 in Tesco or just maybe it will be in a conversation over coffee. Who knows!