Certified for Occupancy: Will the Re-Opening of the Palm Beach Publix be the Next “Event of the Season?”

Publix has cleared yet another hurdle in its process to re-open its Palm Beach store:

The new Palm Beach Publix was issued a conditional certificate of occupancy Wednesday from the Town’s Planning, Zoning and Building Department.

The store was inspected Tuesday and late last week.

“This essentially means that the project is substantially complete,” said Bill Bucklew of the Planning, Zoning and Building Department. “It allows Publix employees and vendors to get inside the store and begin the stocking process.”

Readers of this blog will remember my Christmas piece The Event of the Season, which described the opening of the original Palm Beach Publix in 1971.  I still find it amazing that a chain supermarket can make such a splash in an elite place such as Palm Beach, but that’s the moral to the whole story:

The first lesson from this is that, no matter how much money you have, saving it is important. In a nation which loves to “flash the cash” or worse the credit, this bears repeating. If people in Palm Beach like to save money, you should too.

Second, some of the most important things in life are the most ordinary. Amidst the ritzy charity balls and celebrity events that mark the season in Palm Beach, the opening of a grocery store made an enormous impact.

That’s the way it is with Christmas and the Incarnation. Jesus Christ came in very ordinary circumstances, born of a mother whose family had come down a long way from the time when they were kings of Judah and Israel. After escaping Herod’s attempt to eliminate him as a power challenger, he grew up in Nazareth, than and now not a place associated with the elites of this world. “’Foxes have holes,’ answered Jesus, ‘and wild birds their roosting-places, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head,’” (Matthew 8:20) characterised his life, and after being executed between criminals he was laid to rest in a borrowed tomb.

But the ordinary became the extraordinary when he ended his rest and rose from the dead, making it possible for us to do the same and to have eternal life. Like the opening of the Publix in Palm Beach, the whole history of Jesus Christ–his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return–is the “event of the season,” but in this case the season is human history. We are a part of that history and can be a part of its greatest event by not being ripped off by the Devil and by accepting the free gift of eternal life which only Jesus Christ can give.

The re-opening of the Palm Beach Publix is 19 December 2011, just in time for us to celebrate the incarnation.

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