On a cold winter morning in Washington DC, a man carrying a violin case entered a Metro train station. Finding a spot on the train platform, he opened the case, took out his fiddle, threw a couple of dollars into the open case and began to play. For anyone there that morning, nothing about the man's appearance or action would seem out of the ordinary; just another musician looking to make a couple of bucks. On the contrary, this was far from ordinary. The musician was Joshua Bell, (the) finest virtuoso of the day. Bell's regular playing fee? $1000 a minute! And the violin was no ordinary fiddle. Crafted in 1713 by Antonia Stradivari, it's value was $3.5 million. What was it all about you ask? It was an experiment, sponsored by Washington Post, to see if great artistry would be recognized and appreciated in an everyday setting. So on Friday January 12, 2007 at 7:51 am, in a Washington DC metro station with a Washington Post video recording... Joshua Bell
Something extraordinary happened long ago in Bethlehem. In only 2 words the angel proclaimed the greatest event; only 2 words, two names, "Immanuel" and "Jesus". The child in Mary's womb is the Son of God coming to earth in human flesh to be the Savior of the world. Here is the extraordinary Gospel, and what all people desperately need to know. On behalf of all sinners, the Son of Mary will be crucified, will die and be buried and on the third day, rise to give eternal life to all who believe. There it is - the message and meaning of Christmas. To most of us church' going folk, it's very familiar, yet never an ordinary story.
The night our Lord was born, very few would notice. Same for today it seems. People either by choice or neglect want to have Christmas without Jesus. But without Jesus what do they have? If the Lord doesn't speak, then Christmas is not much more than pretty trees, candy canes, music n Santa n Rudolph, and happy kindly thoughts of others. If God doesn't speak, if He's not allowed to speak, then what you get at best is "do the right thing". Of itself, not a wrong message. But neither is it a saving message.
Christmas isn't something to be put away. The Holy Christian church is given to proclaim this great truth: For Christ's love compels us because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. And He died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So... what happened to Joshua Bell? Almost nothing; you can watch for yourself on YouTube, 45 minutes condensed to 2:45... during which more than a 1000 people pass by. 7 stopped to take in music, while only one recognized the artist. And the hefty amount of coinage? $32.17... W Post, "Artistic greatness was taking place among the common and it was met with a yawn."
NEW YEARS RESOLUTION/PRAYER: LORD, let it never be said for any who pass by 311 South Elm in Staunton IL, If the Lord doesn't speak. Our Lord has spoken! So let us climb the highest mountain (IOW) use all means available, to tell of God's plan and purpose to draw sinners into His Kingdom. Truly, truly, truly our church sign might read: 'Miracles happen every Sunday' And no matter how busy, distracted, troubled people may be... the LORD still speaks, still invites, still forgives, still blesses and gives life... in Christ.
~ Pastor Kelly G. Mitteis
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