Luke 1:46-47, 49 KJV “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.”
Joy To The World!
We would like to think that during the Christmas season, joy would be a given. You’d go shopping for the holiday meals that you’ll prepare for the family, you’ll run into friends from church or school, exchange pleasantries and all will be right with the world. That is until the cashier goes to the intercom and announces over the loudspeaker “PRICE CHECK!”
Suddenly your joyful experience takes a turn. The twenty people in line behind you all begin rolling their eyes, throwing their arms in the air, and grumbling about the stores' cashiers and service. Complaining along with anger has now overshadowed the season all because the stamp of a price fell off your top-of-the-line ham you were purchasing.
“Excuse me,” you whisper, “Can’t you price check in that little book of prices you have there?”
Through snapping gum the cashier barks, “No ma’am, these are new and not in the books yet.” She blows a bubble and it pops as if to say ‘this is all your fault for wanting to have a joyful experience’.
Now you yourself are becoming disgruntled. You just wanted to be prepared for when the family came rushing through the door with their red noses, gifts in hand and smiles on their faces on Christmas day. Looking back at the line behind you, there certainly is no smiles on those faces. The price arrives via a manager who has to personally tap in the code and she now decides to program the cash register for others who might be buying the same ham.
By now the people are becoming vocal, all because you wanted a ham and a joyful experience on Christmas day. This is not Christmas day so you ever so slightly feel the anxiousness growing inside and are a bit angry that this has to happen NOW, not to the lady or man behind you but to you on your joyful shopping excursion.
“Can we move it along now?” You tried not to sound snarky but the manager gave you a sword through the heart look.
“You’re the one who bought the ham lady,” she snapped back, obviously overworked and underpaid.
The cashier finished up, placed all your bags in the cart, now for the credit card to go through. A problem with the computer once again has the line grumbling and storming off to another crowded register while some stayed, unaffected by all of the bitterness going on around them. There they are you thought, the ones who really know what the joy of the season means.
The transaction finally goes through and you try to salvage some joy in the whole event after the cashier says, “Thank you and have a nice day. NEXT.”
“Merry Christmas,” you say and it was as if you spit out a vulgar foreign language.
“I don’t celebrate Christmas, NEXT!” She was now trying to shoo you out of her lane. Now it was YOU who were offended. What did she mean she doesn’t celebrate Christmas, how can someone NOT celebrate Christmas? You look around the store at all the flashing lights, filled to the brim shopping carts, kids running and screaming, and people with stress running down their faces. There was no joy in this flurry of expedient shopping. Joy was not here in the hustle and bustle of a crowded store with people last-minute Christmas shopping and missing the actual joy in what Christmas is all about.
Being aroused from your daydreaming, the young lady behind you with a small smiling child in the seat of the shopping cart with a few tv dinners and some baby food says, “Excuse me, ma’am,” as she tries to go around you, the daydreamer.
You look at her. Her dark hair unkempt and a little scraggly, her coat weathered and worn. The smiling child with his puffy coat and stocking feet dangling through the holes looks at you with the brimming eyes of innocence.
You ask her, “Why did you stay in line with those few things in your cart?”
“I’m in no hurry,” she says, “I have food for another week, my son is happy, I have a roof over my head and shoes on my feet. There’s no reason to be hurried. He’s coming whether they like it or not.” She again tries to go around you.
You stop her. “Miss, I’d like to give you my cart full of food, is that okay?”
Tears brimmed her wide brown eyes, “Ma’am? You don’t have to...,” she went on to say tears now overflowing her eyes as you put your cart full of enough food for a family of eight in her hands.
You begin putting her little bit of food in your cart and offer to walk her to her car. She thanks you over and over again, placing her giggling child in your full cart. “God Bless you ma’am, God bless you, and Merry Christmas.”
You begin daydreaming again amid the hustle and bustle realizing at that moment that finding joy in the season isn’t about the hurriedness, it isn’t about the blinking lights or the numerous expensive price tags on the gifts under the tree, joy isn’t even about the perfect family meal. Joy is about being content with what you have at that very moment, a roof over your head and shoes on your feet. And you know why? In a politically correct world trying to change CHRISTmas? HE IS COMING whether they like it or not!
Startled by a bump in the now empty cart from a rushed shopper, you look for the young lady you gifted. She was nowhere to be found. Your face reddened and you smile feeling a rush of joy filling your heart once again knowing deep down, the reason for the season. He IS coming, whether they like it or not!
Merry Christmas to ALL. May you find JOY in YOUR heart this Christmas season!
Hebrews 13:2 (KJV) “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”