by Rev. Keenan Barber :: I was at my niece’s Holiday Chorus performance this week. Lots of adorable kids dressed in their very cute and brightly colored Holiday best. The ages of the kids ranged from 2nd to 5th grade, and so there were all kinds of awkward moments in the short span of the 35 minute concert. As much as girls playing with their dresses and boys yawning and kids in general just being not-quite-aware that they were in front of a big group of people – nothing was as stark as the man sitting in front of me.
He got a phone call during the concert, answered the call, stood up from where he was sitting, and all the while talking left the room to continue his “very important” conversation. All of this while, the kids on stage were singing, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” His daughter looked at mom and mouthed something like, “Where’s dad?” Mom just annoyingly shrugged her shoulders and basically communicated that she didn’t know.
A few days before that I was at my daughter’s band concert. There were five different levels and flavors of bands performing and so the gymnasium was actually pretty full for a week night middle school music concert. On the back of the bulletin, there was an entire paragraph outlining audience etiquette. At least half of the paragraph was about cell phones – don’t text, don’t email – i.e. leave it in your pocket as your use may distract other people.
The woman sitting in front of us never put her phone away the entire hour show, and with the exception of about five minutes, she was using the phone virtually the entire concert.
The point I am going to make is simple and you already know it. Put away your phone and be present to what is happening right in front of you. Does the phone call in the middle of the choir concert really all that important that it couldn’t wait 20 minutes? Can’t we enjoy the instruments at the band concert playing some great tunes without the cell phone on for the entire concert?! If you want to read more on the subject in terms of cell phones effect on a marriage, read more here.
There are so many things this Christmas season that have the ability to distract from the fact that the Advent season about our God entering into our world to radically change the way we do life. The incarnation of the Christ child is easy to miss – and with so many more distractions these days, it becomes a real discipline to stay focused on the things of the season that God would want our attention to be on. Put down the phone. Pick up a Bible. Pick up the Church Advent devotional or read it at belairdevotions.com. Read the Christmas story with your kids. Enjoy family. But for crying out loud, have wisdom when it comes to using your cell phone.