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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Flash Mobs at Christmas

by Marcia Lee Laycock

I love the videos of flash mobs that circulate on YouTube and Facebook, especially at this time of year. I love to watch the faces of those in the malls or city squares as they realize that something unusual is happening. The looks range from bemused delight to open-mouthed awe. Cell phones quickly appear to capture the event and the applause at the end is usually long and loud.

What is it about these spontaneous events that delight us? 

We aren’t expecting it. Who expects a symphony orchestra to suddenly strike up in a food court? The people doing it look just like us yet they are doing something out of the ordinary, something fun and sometimes spectacular. Ordinary routines are suddenly halted, an ordinary day is turned into a festival and the focus on scurrying around to shop is forgotten. Strangers smile at one another and share the delight of discovery. For a few moments a community is created.

As I watched a video of a flash mob the other day I thought of how perfectly it exemplified the spirit of Christmas.

Who expected the Messiah to be born as a baby in a manger? The people involved were ordinary people who looked just like all the others in that era yet they were involved in a world-changing event – something totally out of the ordinary, something spectacular. The ordinary routines of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men were suddenly halted. An ordinary event, the birth of a child, on an ordinary day, became the pivot on which history would turn. Those who came to worship the Christ child on that day were strangers to one another, but they became companions in a journey that would lead them to the most important discovery of their lives and a joy that would never leave them.

As I thought about it, I thought about my own attitude to yet another Christmas season. I’ve seen over six decades of them. Yes, I’m that old! And sometimes I miss the delight and the joy I had as a child, because it is all so familiar. It’s all so commercial with the constant pressure to buy and my jaded attitude causes me to miss the glory.

Perhaps that’s why I love the flash mobs. They renew my joy in this season, they renew my delight in the story that is still the pivot of the world’s history even after more than 2,000 years.
As a writer of faith it’s important that I sustain that joy and delight, not just at Christmas time, but all through the year, because without it I cannot pass it on to my readers. Without that connection to the reality of the only story that truly matters in this world, I cannot write the stories that will point people to it and perhaps even draw them into an eternity of joy.
What about you? Has your attitude toward Christmas been dulled over the years? Has it been jaded by all the commercialism? Click into Youtube and find a video about a flash mob. (Here’sone that might work). Or better, open your Bible and read the story again. Ponder the event that changed the world. It might just renew your Christmas spirit and fuel the joy that will seep into your work all year long.

 “Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.” (Isa 49:13 NKJ)

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6 NIV)
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded here. Visit Marcia’s website

An Unexpected Glory is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

Missing Christmas is available on Amazon


  1. I too am over six decades, but my love of Christmas has not diminished! I love Christmas so much that I begin it on Nov. 1 (with candles in the windows and Christmas china out for use), and I don't have everything put away until Jan. 31. Christmas itself lasts for twelve days -- until Jan. 6, and I celebrate them! My birthday falls in there too. When my children were still home, we had special traditions for Epiphany.
    I would LOVE to be involved in a flashmob! They are amazing and uplifting. I used to sing in a civic chorus. We sang in malls at Christmas, but as a caroling concert, not a flashmob.
    I giggle to myself that the world, who rejects Christ, still celebrates Christmas as a secular holiday. They inadvertently and unwittingly are joining in the celebration of Christ's birth by being a part of all the hullabaloo of Christmas.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Nina. The blessings of the season to you!


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