Saturday, December 14, 2013
FINDING THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS IN WALMART
I was rushing around today, fretting over the long list of undone errands that still remained. I pulled into WalMart and hurried in a door opposite the dear old Salvation Army bell-ringer I had visited on previous visits, intending to hurry through my list.
I hated the panic rising in my chest as I thought about the list and the ticking clock. I hated how I was allowing these things to erode my desire to keep the Spirit of Christ in Christmas, so I chastised myself with a little challenge.
"Find one person and spread a little cheer, Laurie."
A tired-looking woman was in line in front of me, counting dollars from her bank envelope as she pushed her few things to the register. I chatted with her about one of her items and we laughed over trends and fads and children.
The checker looked even more tired, but she greeted me, her chatty customer, with a smile. She asked me a question about a small decoration I was buying, and in passing, she mentioned that she wasn't doing much this year, and that she had done almost nothing last year because her 18-year-old son had been in shock trauma and was still suffering from his injuries
I read her name tag as she briefly shared her story, and when I left her station I wished her a Merry Christmas and extended my wish for her son's improved health. As I drove away, I wished I had had something to give her to lift her spirits. And then I remembered the three invitations to the Christmas Concert I tucked in my purse.
I circled through town and back to the WalMart with my three treasures in my hand. I hurried up to the bell-ringer and handed him a card. "You've been out here for weeks, bringing everyone else cheer. I'd like to return the favor and bring you some. Would you like to come to a Christmas concert?"
He was flabbergastered for a moment, and then he thanked me several times, adding a hearty Merry Christmas to his response. I hurried on to find my checker, but in those brief moments, she had gone on a break. I raced over to the Customer Service desk and asked if the agent knew this particular colleague. She did and she agreed to give the card to her.
On the way out, I bumped into the parent of my children's friend, a woman I hadn't seen in years, and after a sweet chat, she became the recipient of my third invitation. I was elated, maybe even a bit over enthusiastic as I walked past the bell-ringer. I reiterated my invitation. "I really hope you'll come!"
He probably thought I was a nut but his laughter sounded in my ears as I returned to my car. The events were small, but my once panicked heart had changed in those few minutes because I forced myself to slow down and remember that people always trump errands and gifts. Heaven changed my heart, and the spirit of Christmas returned.