Today is Nobel Dagen (Nobel Day, pronounced, No-Bell) in Sweden...the day that the Nobel prizes are awarded to the recipients. The ceremony takes place not too far from our house and it would be a dream to get a ticket to this event. However, it is nearly impossible to get a ticket unless you are A) the ambassador to Sweden from a country from which a winner hails or B) you win the prize. Hence, it is highly unlikely that we will ever get to go since there is no Nobel Prize in theology.
The best and brightest in Physics, Economics, Literature, Medicine and Chemistry are all gathered in Stockholm's City Hall tonight. The thousands of dollars that have been spent on the food, wine and clothing is staggering. The entire Royal family are in attendance and the prize winners themselves are likely content with their huge money prize and the satisfaction of being a Nobel Laureate for the duration of their lives.
This is a big deal in Sweden. I would guess that most televisions are tuned to the public broadcast station that airs the ceremony and banquet in its entirety. Not entirely riviting television but certainly a cultural event for which the Swedes are terribly proud. Only the Peace prize is given out in Oslo, Norway but all of the money for the prize originates with Alfred Nobel, a Swede who invented dynamite. In spite of Americans winning a number of prizes each year, (this year 3 Americans won), very few Americans fully understand or appreciate what a rarity it is to have this prestigious honor bestowed upon someone from their home land.
I suppose today I think of the humble circumstances of Christ's birth in contrast to the pomp and circumstance of the Nobel Prize ceremony and following banquet. When the brilliant minds of our world are honored for their achievements it takes place in Stockholm's concert house followed by an elaborate banquet in the overwhelmingly gorgeous City Hall. However, when the incarnation of God took place, it was in a stable surrounded by donkeys and camels. Don't you wonder even a little bit what they ate? It surely didn't cost $250.00 per person.
Greatness isn't always recognized by its apparent surroundings. The humble circumstances of the stable perhaps, ironically, help us understand the greatness of Christ's birth. I would love to attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony and Banquet one day. Regretfully, that invitation shall likely not arrive on my doorstep. I am however eternally grateful for the invitation to the attend the Great Banquet set by Christ himself in another heavenly place. I am happy to say yes to that invitation and look forward to enjoying it with great joy. And besides, I don't have to buy a new dress for the occasion.