Christmas Midnight, 2016

Readings of the Day

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go see the king? What would you expect to find? Great rooms, lavish decorations, precious ornaments, servants, five silver service? A grand mansion, perhaps?

I went to see the king on a vacation a few years ago. On my way to see an old friend in Florida, I stopped in Memphis for a couple of days, and took a tour of Graceland. Seeing Elvis isn’t something my training as a classical musician led me to, but I remember the huge phenomenon he was and had to check it out. Seeing the Sun Records studio where he first recorded was interesting, and since I’m not a car buff, the auto collection didn’t impress, but Graceland itself did. It isn’t a mansion in the classical sense of the word: no fine and fancy stuff there. You could call it a middle class home on steroids. It had everything imaginable, every gadget, every whim of the great man was played out, including a three black and white TV room where he could watch all 3 network newscasts like LBJ did in the White House. Since he liked deep fried everything, his fryers got a lot of work, but there was nothing in that house which would have been out of place in the house I grew up in. Underneath the fame and talent, he was an ordinary guy, in many ways still the truck driver he started life as.

Shepherds were ordinary working guys in Jesus’ time. They were lying under the stars watching their own version of CNN, the Celestial News Network. It was believed that everything happens in the heavens first before it happened on earth. They got more than stars that night, they got an angel first, they the whole heavenly chorus. But when they went to Bethlehem looking for the King, they didn’t find him in a palace or other fancy place. They found Him in the midst of ordinary people in an ordinary place as an ordinary baby.

We still find Jesus in ordinary places. We find Him all around us in ordinary faces and ordinary voices, in the poor, in those in need, in children, in old people. Ordinary things become the Body and Blood of Christ and He becomes part of us ordinary people. Like the shepherds, we have to ponder what it means to us to find the King. We have to search our hearts to figure out to respond to the King, how we are to serve our King. We even have to trust that when our King becomes part of us, we are called to do His work, be His presence in the world.

We find the King in ordinary places every day. How do we respond to the presence of the King?

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