I recently took my daughter to a hospital appointment in London. The challenge that lay before us was navigating ourselves to an unfamiliar part of London in the rush hour. Our appointment time was just as the daily rush was beginning and it meant that we would be trying to get home in the midst of the chaos.
This was a new experience for me and, it was not a prospect I relished. In the event, it actually turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would be. Yes, it was very busy but, the clear signage and great announcements made our journey quite bearable.
It was on the return journey that the incident happened.
As we came from the hospital and onto the underground, it was considerably busier. We managed to get onto a tube and were “strap hanging” with the other sardines in the can.
The train arrived at Farringdon and there were the usual announcements on train and on platform, clear signs, everything you needed to know where you were. The train came to its stop and the doors opened. We waited for a while. The doors closed. Suddenly, a lady who was on her phone started shoving her way through shouting “excuse me”. She made it to the door, just as the train began to move. In vain she kept hitting the door button but, as the train was gathering speed, there was no hope.
She had missed it.
Despite the signs and announcements, she missed it. The very reason she was on the tube. The thing she wanted; needed had been missed because she had been distracted by her phone.
As I thought about this incident it occurred to me that “missing it” is very much part of the Christmas story. Despite all the signs (angels, shepherds and star) so many people missed what was happening;
The inn keeper (okay the Bible doesn’t tell us there was one), missed it
The people in Bethlehem, despite the shepherds telling them, missed it
Herod in his palace, despite the Magi telling him, missed it.
The danger is that we too can miss it.
Like the lady on the tube, we can easily get distracted by the pressure of the season, the busyness of all that has to be done that we too can miss it. The very reason for the season can end up buried in wrapping paper and tinsel that we lose Him in the midst.
Over this coming Christmas season, every once in a while, why not get off the train, give yourself some space and reflect on the words of the prophet Isaiah who said;
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9 vs. 6)
In this time of noise and bustle, take some time to be quiet before God and do not miss it.
O hush the noise, ye men of strife And hear the angels sing
(It came upon a midnight clear – EH Sears)