I love the interruption that our little tour provides. Many of our tour stops are in places of commerce–places where people are engaged in some of the busiest activity of the holiday season. It’s refreshing to engage with people are so focused on the task at hand that they’ve momentarily lost track of the true focus on Christmas. It happens to all of us.
In this kind of environment, a simple free cup of hot cocoa is a tremendous interruption. It’s often startling to recipients. This seemed especially true as we handed out cocoa outside of Rancho Market in Salt Lake City. Rancho Market is primarily a grocery store, with a few other boutique shops attached. People come there to take care of the necessary business of life. Really, they’re coming there because they need to get something, not because they want to shop. So it caught many people off guard that we wanted to give them something.
The presence of God–which is the very thing we seek to acknowledge at Christmas–often reveals itself to us in a similar manner. We don’t necessarily see it when we’re planning to see it. Instead, it catches us off guard in the liminal moments of life. It’s startling, but it’s not unwelcome. And the more we expect it, the more we tend to see it.
I got to see the presence of God in Salt Lake City. I really got to see it in the young people from Tongan United Methodist Church. They were so joyful to be with each other and to engage with people at Rancho Market. I think God takes similar in interrupting our instances of narrow focus and broadening our awareness to the people around us.