It Happened on the Fourth Floor on Christmas Morning


My eyes have always been drawn to the seemingly insignificant details of life.

Detail such as the elderly lady — a patient at the hospital where we were singing on Christmas Day — who was ‘parked’ in the hallway, perhaps, for a change of scenery. To the nurse who put the lady’s hearing aides in her ears as we started to sing carols. How the lady reached through the blanket for the song sheet I was handing her. How she moved her mouth to the words of Silent Night while she tried to dislodge her stuffed animal from the tangles of her sheet. How she attempted to smooth out the wrinkles of her bed sheet with her wrinkled hand after she had twice unsuccessfully propped up her Teddy Bear on her bed’s edge. How she happily accepted a home-made ornament from a child but declined a second home-made ornament from the same child.


To me, she was the welcoming audience, the gracious host, the musical accompaniment, the gifted soprano, the quiet director, and the entire choir.
To me, she was the reason why we went to the hospital to sing Christmas favorites.
To me, she was why my teen-age children wanted to continue our tradition of singing at ‘Joe Brant’.
To me, she was why Jesus came to the earth.

What might have seemed like an insignificant patient on the fourth floor of Joseph Brant Hospital was probably a lot like what Jesus’ birth was to his contemporaries. Unimportant. Ho-Hum. Same ole, same ole. I imagine that most people thought that Jesus’ birth was just another birth in an old barn. Poor luck Mary and Joe — should have booked your hotel room sooner. His cries were just another baby’s cries from hunger pangs or a diaper that needed changing. The shepherds' visit, a little odd given their social status, but nothing too unusual or out of the realm of possibility. I imagine most of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth went unnoticed save for a few who actively watched and waited, and who were open to the angel’s messages.

I’m wondering if complacency and a general disinterest in life’s details comprise our collective Achilles heel. If so, we might be missing a message that’s revealing an eternal truth.

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