You’ve probably seen the video on Fox News, CNN or the evening news: busy shoppers at a mall, taking a rest at the food court, get interrupted by a suprise redition of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah”… It’s a viral video that’s taken the world by storm on YouTube that I think makes an important point during this holiday season.
What I love about this video, besides some amazing Christmas music, is the way that the shoppers at the mall get caught off guard by the suprise chorus that interrupts their normal, busy day of shopping. Could you imagine being part of the crowd when your lunch of pizza or nachos is interuppted by someone jumping up next to you singing? I’m sure there were a few cell phone calls and text messages that abruptly ended as well amid that chaos that followed in the first few seconds while everyone tried to decipher just what was going on around them.
What fascinates me about this suprise rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus” at the mall is how it helps me picture what the scene must have looked like on that night outside of Bethlehem when the shepherds were busy going about their ordinary, everyday lives of “keeping watch over the flock by night” when suddenly an angelic vision broke into their world. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:10-14).
That’s one night working third shift that was forever changed. One moment you’re sitting there watching sheep out in the cold, night air, the next, you’re hearing angels proclaim that the Messiah has come to save the world. You could almost hear an announcer say, “We interrupt this world for an important message!” By the end of the night, the shepherds weren’t out in the fields anymore, they had heard the angels, they had gone to see the Christ Child, and now they were busy going around town telling their friends and neighbors what they had just experienced. (Kind of like the folks in the food court who felt compelled to take pictures and video tape the Hallelujah Chorus so their friends on Facebook and Twitter might experience the crazy thing that just happened to them at the mall!) Let’s face it this was a Kodak moment both then and now.
Yet, what I really appreciate about the angelic visit to the shepherds is how it took the world by suprise. God interrupted the world to share an important announcement. He had a Christmas present that was going to shake things up a bit. It was a baby lying in a manger, who was intended to one day redeem the world while nailed on a cross. Now that’s something you don’t expect to see everyday, do you?
Perhaps it’s that rude interruption by our God that makes me chuckle everytime I watch this YouTube video taken at that mall. The folks had only planned on a busy day of shopping to get ready for the holiday season. Then everything changed. We think we have this world all figured out. And then, God moves into town and changes everything! During this Christmas season you and I are a lot more like the mall shoppers and shepherds than what we realize. We say, ” I’ve heard, the Christmas story. I know how it turns out.” God says, “But I’ve got a Christmas gift for you, right now, that’s going to shake your world upside down!”
I need to experience the interruption of Christmas in my life this year in a real, powerful way. Maybe you do too! Wouldn’t it be great if we could share the Christmas message like the angels? Perhaps this Christmas you and I might follow the lead of these folks at the mall and interrupt someone else’s world to share some “good news of great joy” that might shake up their day and give them a Kodak moment to share. Now that would be fun, wouldn’t it?