On a cold January morning, a young man stood in Washington, D.C.’s busiest metro station playing his violin. As he played, more than one thousand people rushed by on their way to work and school. In an hour’s time, only seven people stopped to listen briefly before hurrying on their way. He collected $32 from a handful of people who threw some change in his violin case as they walked by. When he stopped playing, no one applauded. No one noticed.
This is a true story. The violinist in the metro that day was violin virtuoso Joshua Bell. His instrument that morning was a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin valued at $3.5 million. The violin was handcrafted by master violin builder Antonio Stradivari in 1713. Bell played some of the most intricate classical pieces ever written, including two composed by Bach. A week earlier, Bell had performed with the Boston Symphony to a sold-out crowd who paid an average of $100 per seat.
Bell’s metro concert was set up by Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten in 2007. It was a social experiment to see if people would notice and appreciate beauty in a place where they weren’t expecting it.
The passersby were in such a hurry that they missed out on a real treat. They hurried past unaware of the beauty unfolding in that corner of the metro station. If they were in such a rush that they didn’t notice one of the world’s greatest violinists playing some of the world’s best music on one of the most valuable instruments in existence, what other things were they missing?
How about you? During the rush of Christmas, are you taking the time to notice the beauty all around you? The smile and laughter of children? The joy of others as they open the gift they’ve been wanting? The fragrance of the holiday cookies baking? The grandeur of the Christmas decorations? The sounds of holiday music filling the air?
I “had a moment” last night watching my boys decorate our annual gingerbread house. I was almost moved to tears as I watched them enjoying themselves while they piped icing and placed gumdrops on the structure. I was reminded of how blessed I am with my beautiful family. FYI: I’m only showing a picture of my youngest son to spare my teenagers any embarrassment. 🙂
My wish for you is that you’ll enjoy this Christmas season like never before. Take the time to enjoy your family. Take some time to notice the beauty around you. And take the time to worship Jesus – the reason for the season!