“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5
On a December day back in 1903 at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright made amazing history. After numerous failures to fly a heavier than air machine, the Wright brothers accomplished something that no one had ever done before. Ecstatic, they sent a telegram to their sister, Katherine, back in Ohio. It read “we have actually flown 825 feet. Will be home for Christmas.”
Overjoyed, Katherine ran down to the local newspaper and pushed the telegram, one of the greatest news stories of the century, into the hands of the editor. After reading the page, the editor smiled. “Well, well,” he said. “How nice the boys will be home for Christmas.”
That editor had no idea what great news he had received; he failed to understand the importance of what had happened. The scoop of the century was his, and he let it slide right through his fingers because he wasn’t looking for the right things. He was unprepared to look for the new things that happened, the unexpected things that thrust their way into the world.
Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it? A virgin is visited by an angel and given startling news. A child is born and angels proclaim his birth, a star sparkles in the night sky above Bethlehem, but few took notice. There is no record of celebrations and festivities except among a few people on the fringes of society – shepherds who were from the lowest of society’s classes, and wise men who came from some foreign country speaking a foreign tongue. There are no accounts of government declared holidays, no synagogue ceremonies to memorialize this great event, no news reports from the day. Just the worship of poor, dirty shepherds and the gifts of a bunch of new age astrologers.
This Christmas, will we have eyes to see what God is doing in our world? Are we so caught up in looking for what we expect, that we fail to notice the unexpected but wondrous activity of God among us? It won’t be spectacular, just a baby born to a poor couple in a backwater town, just an act of kindness by a Christian toward a Muslim, just a simple thing that might not seem so extraordinary, but oh, what an amazing thing it will be. Let’s keep our eyes open and watch for the unexpected, for the in-breaking of God, for the light that will not be overcome in spite of our blindness.
Prayer: Holy God, in the birth of Jesus Christ you acted to bring together the everyday and the extraordinary, to merge the Word and flesh, to do the unthinkable and the unexpected. Few had eyes to see and notice the event, but that didn’t stop you from acting to save your world. Grant me the eyes to see your activity, and the courage to align my actions with yours so that your kingdom may be served and the light of your love strengthened in the world. For I ask it through the babe of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ. Amen.