This past Monday afternoon my wife and I had some errands to run. One of them, unfortunately, brought us to the Willowbrook Mall. Yikes! It was a madhouse. There were people everywhere. Mega traffic and an uncanny parking shortage for a weekday afternoon. Inside the mall, people were standing in lines all over the place just to get into the stores they wanted. Apparently Bath & Body was having quite the sale because their bags flooded the mall. Social distancing didn’t seem to apply on the escalators. Facemasked consumers flooded the Food Court. People waiting to make returns, getting frustrated as they waited to make exchanges. People searching store-to-store looking for some sweet after-Christmas sales. Uggs boots 40% off! Monster sale at the Children’s Place. Up to 75% off at Bloomingdales. In that setting, it was as if Christmas was all about getting what you can get while the getting is good. The only things missing was Charlie Brown searching for an aluminum Christmas tree. It was crazy!
And yet, as I stood waiting outside the restroom, I heard something. Very faintly in the background, I could still hear this song playing, 3 days after Christmas… “Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel… Born is the King of Israel!” Who knows how many people actually heard it. It wasn’t exactly quiet within the walls of Willowbrook. Who knows if anyone listened to the subtle, quiet reminder of what this season is actually all about. But I did. I heard it. The chorus pierced through the noise and hit me right to the core. In the midst of chaotic commercialism and mall madness, God enabled me to forget about the traffic, the crowds and my errands. Just for a moment, he recalibrated my gaze so I could stare back into the humble manger of Christmas. Steve, don’t forget about the Gift. “Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel… Born is the King of Israel!” Born is the King. Born is my King. Born is your King. Born is the King of kings. The message of Christmas doesn’t stop as the calendar moves forward. It doesn’t lessen as the decorations are taken down. It isn’t dampened as the Christmas music is boxed away for use again in another ten months. Keep listening and looking for the ways God will share His love and Gospel message with you. The angels still sing and shepherds still worship. Let’s join them! Don’t let the racket of New Year sales or crowds of rabid shoppers overtake the peace of Christmas. Dear friends in Christ, continue to rejoice and celebrate the spirit of Christmas; “For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)