Acted differently...how? Would I have tried to impress that person? Catered to that person? Ignored everyone else to pay special attention to that person? And why would I do that? Simply because that person is "someone of importance?" If I didn't know who that person was before, why would knowing who he or she is later change my view of how I think I would have behaved in his or her presence?
As human beings, I think that we are naturally enthralled with someone famous...anyone who is of importance, whether it is a movie star, a political figure, a sports figure or an author who crosses our path. And if we have a talent, a knowledge, a desire for that field, we might just try a little extra hard to get that person to notice us, so that he or she looks up and says, "My GOD, where have you been all my life? You are exactly who I'm looking for to star in my new movie/be my political protege/be on my team/I want to publish your book!"
When that doesn't happen, we might be disappointed for a brief moment, but reality hopefully sets in rather quickly and we resume our mundane lives. If we'd only known ahead of time, perhaps we could have prepared ourselves, our hearts to receive that important person. Made a big deal. Fixed ourselves up.
What if it was Jesus? What if I didn't know and treated Him like every other guy who came into my restaurant (if I had one) or store (if I had one)? After He left, what would my reaction be once I was told, "Hey, did you know that was Jesus?" I think that I would be more than just disappointed. I would be heartbroken that I didn't recognize him. I would be mortified that I didn't act more kindly toward Him. I would not wish that He looked up and said, "Mary! Where have you been...." Because I would know that He did know who I was. And He is that Person of Importance who stops and wants me to star in His next movie/be His protege/be on His team/publish my book. I am the only one in the whole restaurant/store who matters to Him, and so are you! But I think that Jesus would wait until I recognized Him to make Himself known to me. That's just my opinion. And after He walked out, and someone says to me, "Hey, did you know that was Jesus?", here is what I think I'd say:
"If only I'd known ahead of time that He was coming. I would have prepared a place for Him. I would have fixed myself up. I would have prepared my heart so that I didn't have so much on my mind. I would have made sure that He had my full attention. I would have made a special dish for Him. I would have cleared the place out....oh, how could I not have known? How could I have missed Him?"
If we lived in the time that Jesus lived, would we have recognized Him to be the Messiah? Would we have acknowledged this baby to be the King we'd been waiting for? Who might you have been most like? Martha, who was always busy "doing"? The Pharisees or Sadducees, the religious leaders who were so steeped in law, that they couldn't accept His radical teachings?
Or Mary, who sat at His feet? The Disciples, who left everything to follow Him without question? Mary, His mother, whose heart was pure, responded to the angel's announcement that she was to carry God's child with, "I am the servant of Adonai. May it be with me as you have said (Luke 1:38)." She recognized Him. She acknowledged Him. She served Him. And she was His MOTHER! No one had to tell her, "Hey, did you know that was Jesus?"
Let's not miss Him in the busyness of Christmas. Let's take some time to prepare our hearts, to prepare a place, to clean the place up, make that special dish, clear the place out, so that when He walks in on the feet of an infant, we will say, "Welcome, Lord Jesus! We have a special place prepared for You! Right this way!"
Blessings Along the Path,