Just recently, I spent some time in a crowded shopping mall. It was full of the typical holiday commotion that you would expect to find in a mall this time of year. It was nearly in a state of complete chaos, but I will dismiss it as “general holiday excitement.” People were bustling all around, trying to find the perfect gift. In the midst of the busyness, I sat down, enjoyed a cup of coffee and watched.
As I watched the shoppers scurry around I sipped my coffee and listened to the Christmas songs that were playing over the mall PA system. For whatever reason, I began to pay close attention to the words that were being sung. “In the dark streets shineth the everlasting light…” Song after song poured out of the speakers. “Come adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord the new born King…”, “The holly bears a berry as red as any blood, and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ to do poor sinners good…”
I felt like I was the only one who was listening, or the only one who cared about what was being sung. “These songs should be acknowledged as more than just background music,” I thought to myself. Wonderful truths were being proclaimed to the mass of oblivious shoppers. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!” But no one batted an eye at this incredible announcement.
“God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day.” No one acknowledged the song, but it continued all the same. “To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy!”
One after another the songs came. And not the typical mall Christmas songs either. They weren’t playing songs like “Here Comes Santa Clause” & “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” They kept playing the good ones. O Holy Night, What Child Is This, The First Noel… With each song, it was as if someone was intentionally trying to get a message across.
I understand that people had other things on their minds. Not everyone had the luxury of sitting with a cup of coffee and simply observing & listening. But still, the contrast of beautiful, life changing truths being sung to people who appeared to be completely indifferent was stark.
I kept listening. I sat and thought about the words I was hearing. Tears welled in my eyes. I felt overwhelmed by God’s love. I felt thankful. I felt sad for those who weren’t hearing what I was.
I have been back to the mall since then. Unfortunately, I think I was more like the other folks as I attempted to get some shopping done. Not only when I am at the mall, but just in life in general, I can get so distracted and caught up in the frantic pace of life. What was it about that day at the mall? Why was I so moved by the beauty of Christ coming to save sinners? Why was the significance of Jesus’ work so apparent to me then? I think, very simply, the difference was that I took time to be still. I took time to listen and to let the truth settle in my heart. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
It becomes more pronounced around Christmas, the rushing around and forgetting what the “season” is really all about. But it is a problem that we deal with all year round. Take some time to hear. Take some time to “be still & know.”