A crowded restaurant, bustling with patrons and filled with the chatter of conversation and the clatter of silverware. Our table, scattered with half-filled glasses and packed with plates emptied of salads and sandwiches and pastas. Our attention, focused on getting acquainted with new friends and re-connected with old ones, centered in the immediate things---lingering tastes, feelings of fullness, the hardness of the chairs, the words to say next.
First the opening notes intone, then my eye catches up to see a group of teenagers across the restaurant. As their music unfolds, forks are silenced and words fall quiet. The clamoring of the crowd slows, then stops. This choir is captivating a captive audience. They sing of Christ and His holy, humble birth. While the conductor's hands swing and gesture round, the young voices rise and fall, divide and meet again, expand and shrink. Their song moves me away from my seat and to the fields beside the curious shepherds and into the stable scattered with straw and beside the rough trough, my eyes to behold the heavenly King wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Their act of random beauty had become a gateway for me to spiritual contemplation. That day I had both lunch and Christmas in May.