It was an unusually long line at the hardware store, shaped like the letter Y. I was at the top left. Icelanders are notoriously bad at forming lines. Probably because our forefathers sailed from Norway to Iceland, choosing to live independently on a highly active volcanic rock in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, rather than serve under the Norwegian king. Who needs lines anyway?
I noticed a young father with three beautiful young children, a young girl and two boys around 7-10 years old. I couldn’t help hearing that the younger boy’s name was Emmanuel. Suspecting they had never looked up the meaning of the name, I decided to engage them. The conversation went something like this:
Me: You have a beautiful name. Do you know what it means?
Boy: Thank you, no, I don’t know what it means.
Me: It is interesting. (turning to the dad) Ask your father to Google it when you come home. It will be interesting for you, especially now that advent has started.
Lady next to me: Now you have gotten us all excited. You have to tell us what the name means!
Me: Are you sure you want to know?
Lady: Yes! Is it the name of an angel?
Me: No, are you sure you wouldn’t want to Google it when you come home?
Lady: No, please tell us!
Me: OK. (We now had the attention of all the people in the line). A prophet named Isaiah wrote a big prophetic book in the Old Testament about 700 years before Jesus was born. In chapter seven he writes that a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. And that means God with us.
By this time, another clerk had started working the line. Things got rapidly moving, and the moment passed. It only took about 2 minutes, but the word was sown.