In the Christmas Spirit

2016 seems like, for us at least, it wants to go out with a bang. We have had so many incredible and humbling experiences in the last few weeks alone, and I wanted to share today's with you.
Today, I decided to go to WalMart to finish up my Christmas shopping. I needed to fill Caleb's stocking, and that was all I planned to do. But as I walked through the store, I kept remembering more and more things I needed. Several times I went to walk to the check out line, and then veered off to grab something else I remembered.
By the time I finally made it to check out, I had quite a cart full of stuff, including a winter coat for Dayen, presents for my niece and nephews, and even a tube of mascara that I had just run out of this morning. Everything was more expensive than I was planning, and I was kind of stressing about it the whole way through the store. Christmas is just so hard, and I hate spending so much money at once, even on things we need. As I loaded things on to the belt, I started questioning everything I bought. Could I wait until next week to buy this? Should I put this back?
As I contemplated all this, there was an older man waiting in line behind me. His cart was mostly empty, with just two little cartons of orange juice and some eggs. He smiled at Dayen and I, but he seemed to not be paying much attention because he kept bumping me with his cart like he was pushing me out of the way. When I finally got up to the checker, he literally used his cart to force me out of the way.
I turned towards him, surprised but ready to stand up for myself, when I heard him tell the checker, "I want to buy this girl's groceries."
I quickly protested, "Oh no! That's very sweet but you don't have to do that."
"I want to buy them," he said again.
"I have so much stuff here! Really that is so nice of you but you don't have to!" I was panicking now, thinking about all the things I had chosen to buy today that I had been putting off buying for months. That's when the checker turned to me and said, "When someone offers to do something nice for you, just let them!" Then she turned back to the man and said, "She would love to let you buy her groceries!" So I finally smiled and said, "Yes, that is what I meant!"
And I just stood there and watched as he paid way, way, way too much money for his measly two bags of groceries.
After he paid I gave him a hug and said thank you. I told him, "Today is my birthday, so you couldn't have picked a better time!" He asked how old I was and when I told him he looked at the checker and said, "Twenty six! Wouldn't that be nice?" He told me he is ninety-two.
I walked out of the store with him, thanking him the whole way, and just shocked that anyone could be that kind.

Since then, two things have been stuck in my mind:
#1: The Lord is always, always, always mindful of us. It was no accident that I ended up with a cartful of things I needed but couldn't afford. It was no accident that I went to that checkout lane, on that day, at that exact moment. Believe what you will, but I know that I was being watched out for. And with everything going on in the world, to think that God cares about whether or not my child has a coat today... well, it's humbling to say the very least.
#2: It feels like the world is so bad and wicked and evil and going increasingly downhill, but when I really stop and look around, I don't know if I believe it. Yes, of course there is wickedness. People do bad things. Bad things happen for no reason. But that's always been the case. There is still so, so much good.
And to be clear, I don't think it's necessary to pay a ton of money for someone's groceries in order to serve them. But that's the thing: this man had no rhyme or reason for serving me. I'm not homeless or jobless. I wasn't out in the snow with no shoes. I wasn't even scrounging around in my purse for enough change to pay for my meager groceries.
I was just an average person doing a normal thing. I doubt most people would have looked at me and thought, "she could use some of my money." I'm not the most needy. But still, he served me.
That is the most Christlike service I can imagine.
Why do we wait until a friend is in need before serving them? Why do we only bring dinner if they are going through a hard time? Why do we sometimes have to be slapped in the face with a request before we are willing to serve?
You don't have to find the most needy person out there and do the most incredible thing you can think of. The small things count, too. You don't have to search for someone to serve, because we all need service. Because spreading love like that benefits everyone.
I doubt that ninety-two year old man will ever read this blog. But I hope he knows how much it affected me today, and I hope everyone who can read this blog will keep his actions in mind, and take it to heart. If we could all show even a little bit of that amount of kindness everyday, this would be a completely different world we would live in.

No comments:

Post a Comment