Last evening Marilyn and I made our annual trip to EPCOT Center to enjoy the Candlelight Processional. It’s a Christmas music extravaganza, complete with a 200 voice choir, a full orchestra, and the Christmas story read straight out of the Bible by a celebrity narrator. (Last night it was Marlee Matlin) We always feel like it’s not really Christmas till we do the Candlelight Processional.
But last night I was distracted by the couple sitting next to us. The man was on his phone throughout the entire performance. He might have been texting, but I think he was playing a game. Soaring, majestic music and words that came from the very heart of God were filling the night air, yet this young man was oblivious, thumb-tapping his smart phone like he was competing for a prize. Honestly, I have no idea why he even came to the event. It certainly wasn’t to please his wife because she was just as oblivious as he was, looking over his shoulder, more engaged in his game than the program.
I’ll confess, my blood started to boil. But then I realized I was seeing the world in microcosm. God so gloriously on display and people not caring…people more interested in trinkets than eternity. And then the melodious words rang out…
Do you hear what I hear?
It was a heartbreaking moment, for no, many don’t hear what I hear. They don’t see what we see. Which means nothing much has changed in the last 2,000 years.
However, all is not lost. I do find comfort and inspiration in the fact that God is not put off by people like Mr. Oblivious who sat beside us. God loves him as much as he loves me. And while my blood was boiling at the man’s indifference, I know God’s heart was breaking.
This is really the essence of Christmas, the very picture of grace…that God sent his son into the world knowing full well that the masses would not hear or see the Truth. Or even care. My desire this Christmas is to try to be more godlike in the way I think about the oblivious. And not just the oblivious, but the crude and irreverent.
With so much evil in the world, it’s easy to become angry and cynical. May the message of peace on earth and good will toward men be more to us than just a song lyric. May it challenge the way we see and respond to people who seem to be the problem. Now more than ever the world needs to see what love looks like.