‘Tis the season for some of us to come down with a touch of the “Christmas flu”. That sickly feeling of expectations exceeding current plans, desires and checking accounts. Don’t let it get you down. It’s not about “doing”…it’s about “being”.
Saturday, I volunteered at the Christmas Store. It is an event that is sponsored by the church that I’ve been attending similar to many events held during this season. This event allowed people to come to the church and pick out 2 gifts for each child at a cost of $5.00 per toy regardless of the toy. Then we took all the toys selected by the parents and wrapped them and put the kid’s names on the gifts and then packaged them together in large trash bags while the parents got to sit and eat cookies and listen to Christmas music played by a live band. The reason behind allowing them to pay for the toys was one of trying to preserve a parent’s sense of dignity by allowing them to pay something… and from what I witnessed…it did all that and more.
It snowed all day on Saturday… and my job was to carry all the packages out to their cars or in some cases…walk them down to the bus stop. What a wonderful blessing the day was! Each time I walked back to the church…I looked up as the snow fell on my face and I thanked God for blessing me so much.
As the day was drawing to an end, I saw a black woman probably in her mid 60’s leaving the Christmas event. She was carrying a small gift in a bag as she walked down the sidewalk by herself. I ran to catch up with her and offered to carry her bag to wherever she was going. She said she was going to the bus stop…to catch the #15 bus! So me, being a “public transportation veteran now” knew exactly what to do and where to take her. So as we were walking, she shared that she was going home to an empty house with no sign of Christmas in the house and she was depressed. I asked why and she shared that several years ago at this time, her only son was taken out of school by a man that pretended to be a family relative. The boy was then raped and killed. She has never gotten over the tragedy. We continued to talk and she said she should probably just go home and end her life so she could be with her son again… I told her not to do that. I told her that she was “supposed” to live and that the reason she was living was that God had something left that she was supposed to do. I didn’t know what it was…and maybe she didn’t either…but God did… and He would see to it that she completed her responsibility. She said that the only thing she liked to do was listen to the Christmas music that we played. I asked her if she ever heard the Christmas song called, O come, O come Emmanuel…she said “O yes, I love that one”. I told her it was one of my favorites as well…but until recently I never knew that Emmanuel actually meant “God with us”. I said that singing that song in church reminds me that Christmas is the celebration that on that night…God came down from Heaven to be with us and he will never leave us again.
We finally reached her bus stop and I told her that I loved her and gave her a hug. As I walked away, I heard her shout my name, as I turned around she yelled, “What time does church start tomorrow”? I shouted back and said, “10:00” and smiled…and she said… “I’ll see you there!”
Christmas “can” be a very wonderful and special time for all of us. We just have to remember what it’s all about and why it is celebrated. If you do…you’ll receive a gift no store can stock on its shelves… one that has been completely and permanently paid for…all we have to do is accept it. Try “being” in the Holiday spirit. Let your heartfelt love for people be your gift…on the bus, at work and everywhere in between. That might be the greatest gift someone might get this year!