I went out the other day. All by myself.
So, you ask, why is that such a big deal?
It was my first day out since my back surgery and I was dying to get out of the house and be around people.
I love people.
Yes, they can be annoying and rude, sometimes. I’m sure I am, too. Yes, there are lots of them. And they drive cars and always seem to be in front of you in long, long lines.
But after a week, stuck in the house, under the influence of pretty powerful pain meds, I couldn’t wait to get out and be among all those people.
Did I already mention I love people?
(For those of you who worry about my driving impaired, I’d already stopped taking the meds.)
I went to Joann Fabrics because I’ve been wanting to make a decorative pillow to place on my living room couch. i knew exactly what I wanted: something shiny and gold, perfect for Christmas, kind of a brocade, with a braided strip that I could sew along the edges.
I think about 20,000 people were also in Joann Fabrics that morning. Most of them were buying entire bolts of red and white flannel. Hmm, I wonder why. Not! I envision lots of dads playing Santa in about a week.
If you don’t sew, let me explain the process. You can’t just pick up some fabric and other stuff and proceed to the check out.
First, you gotta go to the center of the store where there’s a big counter, and tell one of the nice ladies behind that counter how much fabric you need. And how much ribbon.
But before you can do that, you hafta take a number.
I was #66. One of the cutter ladies called out, “Number 62!”
Oh, great! I said to myself. Number 62 lady is balancing on her head enough red microfiber to erect Barnum and Bailey’s Circus tent in her backyard.
The other cutter lady was measuring out 1/2 yard portions from 20—I kid you not—20 bolts of fabric—do you know how long that takes?!— for a well-heeled lady who was obviously planning to make two identical quilts. You could tell that because when the cutter lady was finishing cutting, she separated the piles of folded fabric into two identical piles while the customer checked off each piece of fabric on her i-phone calculator.
Still, beautiful Christmas music was playing. The cutter ladies were efficient and nice. And close to 19, 989 other Joann Fabric shoppers were keeping their cool and being nice.
Finally it was my turn. All I wanted was a half yard of my shiny material and a yard of ribbon. The cutter lady looked grateful.
She handed me the cut material and a yellow sheet to take up to the cashier.
When I glanced over toward the front of the store my heart kind of tumbled down to my shoes. Remember “The Christmas Story” movie? That’s how that line looked.
Except these Santa helpers— God bless ’em— were not only quick and efficient, but really, really nice.
What would have taken me 15 minutes on a normal day at Joann Fabrics ended up taking an hour and a half.
and warm my heart at the adorable tots accompanying their moms. (Can you tell I miss my own grandchildren terribly?)
Drivers were considerate in the parking lot, and a nice man let me pull into the line to exit, ahead of him.
This doesn’t always happen, but I felt a kind of refreshment that afternoon after my shopping excursion.
Oh, why can’t we always be in the spirit of Christmas?
Why can’t we live each day with a lovely sense of excitement and expectation about the coming days?
And a kind of camaraderie, too?
Imagine the camaraderie and excitement between Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Both knowing that God was doing mighty things in them and for them. Imagine if we, as Christians were extraordinarily aware of the miracle that the Holy Spirit was doing every moment in our lives. If the veil were torn from our eyes and we could actually see exactly what God was accomplishing at that very moment inside our spirits?
I guarantee music would be playing in our brains, and we would be showing incredible acts of kindness and affection to everyone we encountered. Maybe we’d sing something like this:
“My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior….For the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is He.”(Luke 1:47, 49 NIV Bible)