It's a bleak day. You're sitting on a bench by the road. You can hear the chitchat all around. Someone's at the payphone, it sounds urgent... but it's not your business. The two teenagers walking by seem full of energy- but you have no idea what they're talking about. You watch as the bus stops by, releasing a diverse handful of people- they're all on their phones.
That top-notch shop across the street selling purses and scarves at triple-digit prices has had high-heeled, tuxedo-clad customers opening and closing the shiny doors off and on all day. You sigh. You see the business man or woman strutting by- engaged in a very important sounding phone call. Their shoes click briskly on the sidewalk, giving everyone reason to believe that they are, at that moment, the most important. Their task at hand, though unknown to all observers, is given the highest respect because of the air of importance the individual presents.
They're gone. You look down at your fading jeans, and zip your jacket up a little more. Slouching, you close your eyes- not even caring anymore what the people around you think. It doesn't matter. Nothing matters. Everything you've been draining yourself for, everything you've been giving to others, it doesn't seem to matter. No one's grateful. No one cares. No one even notices. You thought you had talents. You thought you had purpose. You thought. Not anymore- if there's nothing to live for, why bother living?
It may have been five minutes or fifty. You slouch there, your legs are numb from the cold metal bench. Your eyes are still closed, and you feel yourself nodding. Wouldn't it be great to just... slip into peaceful oblivion- forever?
Firm hands grasp your shoulders. You try to jump off the bench and wheel on whoever is behind you, but they don't let you. They begin to shake you violently, but only for a moment. As you jump to your feet and spin on a dime, prepared to shout at your harasser, something stops you. Isn't it the homeless man from the other block? Something about the look in his eyes- it isn't threatening, it isn't angry... in fact, it looks desirable. The furious words that had just been formulating on your tongue, pause. Something about his character makes you want to listen.
It sounds like complete gibberish, but you can't stop listening. Are you really believing this? What is wrong with this guy? He is fanatical- waving his hands, pointing, jumping, literally shaking, and shouting, "Praise God! Praise God! Glory to God, oh, glory to God! You must go, you must go see- there's been a baby born! He is finally here, hallelujah!"
He runs off, babbling as he goes. You stand in shock, and in wonder. Every once of logic inside of you tells you to sit back down, and forget about the crazy homeless man. However, there is something in you- can it be a hunger?- it beckons you to go. With a shrug, you begin in the direction the man had pointed in, shaking your head all the way. What has gotten into you? Since when did you take orders from crazy homeless people?
There it is. So ordinary. You don't understand, but you want to. It's just a mother and a father, and their firstborn child. What is so incredible about that? This should be sort of awkward- the couple just had a baby, for goodness' sake! You really should leave, let them have some privacy. The mother looks relieved, the father is beaming, but they're both exhausted. You try to summon the willpower to leave, but they beckon you over. Slowly, apprehensively, you approach the newborn. He is wriggling, and making little anxious noises- you fear that he will burst into screeches. There is a hush. The awe that overcomes you is enough to melt out the entire world surrounding, but you don't let it.
You think of the homeless man, of his exuberance and the intense joy that overflowed from him. That was what you had seen. In that man, you saw the fulfillment to the hunger inside yourself. You vaguely remember hearing him shouting out his praises and exclamations to every person on the streets, and you see why it was so appealing. He found a purpose. He found a hope. He found a life. He found everything that you so desperately needed.
It lay in the arms of this young woman. You've never seen this couple in your life. You don't even know the baby's name... but it's your responsibility to surrender your life to Him.
Alright- hold up.
It's just a baby. Not even born in a hospital- but in a cave. Into a poor family. And that very baby demands your life.
We can sing all the cutesy Christmas carols we want, but as long as we hold our lives from Jesus, the One who can take our lives and mold them into something beautiful, then we might as well be Chimpanzees singing, 'O Canada, we stand on guard for thee,' or turtles saying America's Pledge of Allegiance. It's pointless. It's meaningless. It's a waste of breath.
"O, come let us adore Him." Really? We sing it every day during this Christmas season, but we sing it like a bore. Just imagine if, at a wedding, while the couple are exchanging their vows, one of them says their vows as if they can't wait for it to be over. They roll their eyes, yawn in the middle, cross their arms, shift their weight- what kind of wedding would that be? Imagine the hurt the partner would feel as their spouse-to-be talks of intimate love and long-term commitment as though they were running through an attendance list. Now, imagine that amount of hurt ten times worse, afflicted on Jesus every time we sing these carols in that way. Our minds are thinking about anything but Jesus, as our lips sing the routine words. That's not commitment to Christ, it's commitment to tradition.
Does that seemingly insignificant baby have your all? Do you depend on Him? Is the reality that the fate of the world rests on that baby real to you?
It's the reason for the season. My advice would be to get that figured out.