The sounds of Christmas. There's a lot of sounds going around at the this time of year; speeding cars, busy shoppers rushing around the store, lots of children laughing (and crying), cheering crowds at holiday sports games, tuning of instruments preparing for an outdoor Christmas concert, the steady beeping of the checkout lines, and of course the fast tapping of fingers across the keyboard and the click of the mouse as Christmas gifts and messages are sent across the super highway.
There were similar sounds of busyness that first Christmas too. The entire Roman Empire was abuzz with busy travelers trying to reach their cities of origin for the census. Roadways were packed with chariots, carts, horses, and mules. Animals crying, children crying, people shouting, whips cracking, these were the sounds of that first Christmas. A world of busy, preoccupied individuals trying to make it to their destination on time. Shop keepers shouting along the way hoping someone would stop and buy their goods. Beggars with outstretched arms pleading with the travelers to have pity on them and toss a coin or two their way.
Two different worlds, yet the same familiar rushing, busy sounds of Christmas. What would happen if the world stopped everything for a time of silence? What would we hear? Standing outside in the coolness of the evening, looking up at the dark, clear sky filled with stars, I stand listening to the silence and imagine what it must have been like for the shepherds, wise men, and Mary and Joseph. The angels singing to announce the birth of a King, the Savior of the world! The awe of a miraculous star beckoning to "follow me." The worried sighs of a distraught husband accompanied by the screams of a woman in labor. Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!
Those were the sounds of Christmas that the world didn't hear that night. They were too busy to stop and listen. They were about their own business when the most important business of the great God of the Universe was taking place. What about us today? We know the story. We know the sounds of what happened. But, are we stopping to listen and remember? We're about our crazy holiday schedules with so much to get done, but do we realize or even understand the importance and magnitude of the business our Father God has given us? Are we not about our Father's business? If not, what's keeping us so preoccupied and busy that we're forgetting the real meaning of Christmas and the work that should occupy our lives every day of the year? Sit quietly before the Lord and ask Him to reveal the sounds of Christmas. Stop in the middle of everything and reflect on the work God has given us to do. Be about His business by spreading His love and the message of His saving grace to those who've not heard. Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!