Good News In the Starbucks Queue

I can hear a Christmas carol playing while I stand in line here at the Starbucks in Denver Airport. I think I’m the only person listening to the words, which are full of Good News. Whether it’s sung by Bing Crosby or Perry Como, by Bob Seeger or Elvis Presley, the music of the season is everywhere. It’s the one time of year when the message of the Gospel is played everywhere–radio stations, grocery stores, and in airports. “Born is the King of Israel!” sings Nat King Cole.

The line is long and the people are bleary-eyed this morning. They are on their phones, heads bent down in the universal position of digital distraction. A couple is reading the newspaper, talking to each other, arguing over something political. A guy is texting his pals, while a woman just complained about her horrible experience at TSA. They are drinking coffee, picking up mobile orders, and everyone is either in a hurry or completely preoccupied with the world we live in to notice the message being sung: “Son of God, love’s pure light” is lost in the frustration of a wrong order and a misspelled name.

It’s not much different than it was when Jesus was born. Nobody noticed, nobody heard, and nobody paid attention. If the heavenly hosts hadn’t shown up to celebrate, even the shepherds would have stayed in the fields. Imagine, the moment when eternity stepped into humanity, and the only witnesses were a dazed young man and an exhausted young woman.

My fellow travelers are missing the words Bing Crosby is singing about the light that shines in the dark streets of our everyday lives. They aren’t hearing the good news that was spoken for them so long ago. They have their red cups and holiday drinks, but they’ve missed out on something even better. They may make their flight, but the words of peace on earth, goodwill to all humanity–given to us freely because we have favor in the heart of the Creator–is drowned out by boarding announcements. As the people hurried through the streets of Bethlehem, missing the life-changing event happening right in front of them, so we miss it today.

My prayer for you today is that you will have time to notice. In the middle of your hurried, busy day, no matter what good or bad thing you face, that you will find a moment to listen and hear what God is longing to say to you, right where you are today.

I hope you can discover a place to pause, and hear the message of hope, the promise of personal peace, the announcement of joy that came to us the night that Christ was born. The announcement was not a one-time thing, intended only for shepherds watching their flocks by night. That stunning moment in time, when heaven touched earth and angels and men rejoiced, is for us, too! The good news of great joy? It was meant for you.

May the familiar words of the story, the refrains of the carols, cause you to pause–to listen–and hear Good News: “Joy to the world! The LORD has come–for YOU!”


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