I love the videos of flash mobs that circulate on YouTube and Facebook, especially at this time of year. I love to watch the faces of those in the malls or city squares as they realize that something unusual is happening. The looks range from bemused delight to open-mouthed awe. Cell phones quickly appear to capture the event and the applause at the end is usually long and loud.
What is it about these spontaneous events that delight us?
We aren’t expecting it. Who expects a symphony orchestra to suddenly strike up in a food court? The people doing it look just like us yet they are doing something out of the ordinary, something fun and sometimes spectacular. Ordinary routines are suddenly halted, an ordinary day is turned into a festival and the focus on scurrying around to shop is forgotten. Strangers smile at one another and share the delight of discovery. For a few moments a community is created.
As I watched a flash mob the other day I thought of how perfectly it exemplified the spirit of Christmas.
Who expected the Messiah to be born as a baby in a manger? The people involved were ordinary people who looked just like all the others in that era yet they were involved in a world-changing event – something totally out of the ordinary, something spectacular. The ordinary routines of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men were suddenly halted. An ordinary event, the birth of a child, on an ordinary day, became the pivot on which history would turn. Those who came to worship the Christ child on that day were strangers to one another, but they became companions in a journey that would lead them to the most important discovery of their lives and a joy that would never leave them.
As I thought about it, I thought about my own attitude to yet another Christmas season. I’ve seen over six decades of them. Yes, I’m that old! And sometimes I miss the delight and the joy I had as a child, because it is all so familiar. It’s all so commercial with the constant pressure to buy and my jaded attitude causes me to miss the glory.
Perhaps that’s why I love the flash mobs. They renew my joy in this season, they renew my delight in the story that is still the pivot of the world’s history even after more than 2,000 years.
“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 9:6
What about you? Has your attitude toward Christmas been jaded by all the commercialism? Click into Youtube and find a video about a flash mob. Then ponder that event, more than 2,000 years ago. It might just renew your Christmas spirit.