Have you ever had a personal encounter with someone famous or important?
My dad traveled quite a bit for his business when I was younger and would often recount the famous people he would see in his travels. He’d come home and talk of how he sat next to “so and so” on the airplane, or saw “so and so” in the terminal in this or that airport.
And then, I had my own brush with fame. While helping to decorate our church in Louisiana for Christmas one Saturday morning, someone came and found me in the sanctuary and said I had a phone call waiting for me. As I walked to my office to answer the call, the individual said, “Oh, it’s Sen. Bob Dole.”
I thought for sure she was joking. But no; as I picked up the phone, I heard a voice, somewhat recognizable, on the other end say, “Hello George, this is Bob Dole. I’m calling to thank you for your letter.” What ensued was a brief and pleasant conversation with a very warm and humble man, who had just finished an unsuccessful run for the White House. Regardless of the outcome of the race, I had just spoken with a United States senator and a presidential candidate. Ordinary me, called by a senator!
I’m continually struck by the same sense of the ordinary when I read the accounts of Jesus’ birth in the Bible. When I read Luke’s description especially and see how the very first recipients of the good news of Jesus being born were shepherds, it gives me hope for my ordinariness.
Isn’t it amazing that the birth of Jesus, the savior of the world, the only begotten son of God, isn’t trumpeted in the ornate palaces of Herod or Caesar? Isn’t it so counter cultural that his birth doesn’t occur in a gold-covered mansion, but in a stable? It’s all so ordinary. It’s all so hopeful.
While there is a part of us that – when we are honest – would love to have a brush now and again, or even a more prolonged period of fame, the truth is we are all pretty ordinary. We are, as has been said as of late, the “99 percent.” And the “one born King of the Jews” entered the world in precisely the same way.
We proclaim that truth every time we sing the carol, “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing”; “Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see…” Here was God, coming to humankind as a baby in a very ordinary way, into a very ordinary setting, to save very ordinary people like you and like me. You matter! So much so, God chose to take on your ordinariness to be born of a woman, so that you can live eternally with him. There’s your brush with fame. You can be a “child of the King.”