24 December 2016


mass during the night: isaiah 9:1-6; titus 2:11-14; luke 2:1-14
mass during the day: isaiah 52:7-10; hebrews 1:1-6; john 1:1-18

it was a friday in january 2007 in washington. a young man in jeans, tee-shirt and baseball cap came out of the metro, pulled a violin out of its case, threw a few dollars into the open case, and begin to play.
a rich sound filled the air. an occasional passer-by dropped a few coins in the case, but for the most part, people ignored the musician. sixty-three people passed by before anyone noticed the musician at all; only seven people stopped to listen to the master musician; 1,070 neither looked nor stopped. twenty-seven people gave money… $32 and change in donations.
the fiddler standing outside the metro was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made: joshua bell playing a 3.5-million-dollar instrument hand crafted in 1713 by antonio stradivari. 
three days earlier, bell filled boston’s symphony hall, where the seats went for $100 upwards; two weeks later there would be standing room only at the music center at strathmore!

on that cold january morning in 2007, a master musician went unnoticed, unrecognized and ignored. on a cold december night two thousand years ago, the master musician showed up. he, too, went unnoticed, unrecognized and ignored.
for the same reasons that people ignored josh bell, they ignored jesus: they were too busy and too caught up in their own worlds. they didn’t expect the messiah to be born as a baby, and in a dirty manger in an obscure town. 

the christmas day readings emphasise this situation.
to a people in captivity, isaiah brings glad tidings that GOD will come to save them. the letter to the hebrews stresses that GOD, who has spoken in partial ways through the prophets, has spoken through his son.
john’s prologue tells us that the son who is GOD and who is with GOD is now with us, «but the world did not know him… but his own people did not accept him.»
the coming of jesus was announced. he came and dwelt in our midst. but he went unnoticed, unrecognized and ignored.

today jesus is born again and comes in different ways, in varied unexpected forms.
will i expect jesus today in the unexpected? will he go unnoticed, unrecognised and ignored?
will the statistics be different this time, in my life, in my home and society? it’s up to me and you!