Sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees. We get so caught up in me, me, me, that we can’t see the bigger picture of what’s going on around us. It reminds me of the story about the world famous violinist Joshua Bell who started playing his £2M violin in an underground station some years ago. He played for almost an hour while hundreds of people dashed past him, laden down with their Christmas shopping. A few people stopped to listen and he made almost £20 in tips. But no one recognised him.
Sometimes, people just can’t see the importance of a “common” person or a miracle that is unfolding before their very eyes.
We know the ancient Jews longed for Elijah to return and smash their enemies and usher in a new era for the Chosen People. Yet Our Lord told them that John the Baptist was the long-awaited Elijah, but they couldn’t see it.
Yes, John was the new Elijah, and that poor, unassuming baby in the manger really was the Messiah. The problem was that neither Our Lord nor John acted the way the people expected. They were too humble. They were too countercultural.
We can fall into a similar trap. Sometimes, especially during a season like Advent, we look for dramatic spiritual experiences that will overwhelm us and magically transform our lives. We look for a Hollywood moment to heal our relational problems or show us the way through a tough situation. But when we do this, we forget that God is already working quiet miracles right before our eyes. We forget that he didn’t come to make our lives easier but to make us holier.