Christmas is upon us. Parking lots full. Heavy traffic. Long check out lines. Tis the season for car horns honking, and irate people who think that you have taken their parking place. In the season of gift giving, there are many who find their attitudes inconsistent with the season of joy and love.
For whatever reason, I decided to change my mindset. I determined to drive slower and not cut people off. I sought to focus my mind on thinking of positive things when I sat at the stop light, or maybe two or three times it took to get thru that stop light. I made a conscious decision to park in the farthest parking places from the store so that I could give the closer in places to those more hurried in life. I found that when I did this, I was getting more exercise and my attitude was changing as well.
And the long lines. What about the long lines? I made a conscious decision to interact with people in those long lines and spread some joy. Two days ago, Nadine and I decided to go shopping. A little reflection if I may. Nowadays, more and more people are doing their shopping online. It creates no hassle. No long lines. No parking mishaps. It’s easy as eating a piece of pie. For those of us who are older, we like the traditional way of shopping of actually going and being face to face with something we are about to buy. To each his own.
Well back to my story. We were in a well-known store and were ready to check out. They were well-organized and had a line for shoppers to wait in order of when they were ready to check out. It is ingenious in that you don’t have to guess which line will get you through the quickest. It took all the fun out of guessing. As I was waiting there (Nadine was using her last minutes in the store to look for stocking stuffers), I began to talk with the lady in back of me. I told her “Merry Christmas” and asked her how her holiday was going. She told me she hated the long lines, and that her Christmas wasn’t going very well. She was grumpy about all the traffic, and irritable people she had to deal with. She was grumpy, but she asked me the same questions I had asked her.
I responded by saying that I was having a wonderful experience experiencing Christmas. She asked me if I liked the long lines and I told her that I did because I got to talk with people like herself. “Do you like the horrendous traffic?” she asked, and I replied what I was seeking to do in the holiday traffic. We talked awhile longer and then she said something that warmed my heart. “I think I’m going to have a better Christmas and feel better about the holidays as a result of this time.”
I came across a passage in the bible this morning that summed up what I am seeking to do this holiday season. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. . . And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.. . .Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 3:12, 14; 4:5-6 NIV
On this journey, we have choices in how we act toward those we come in contact with. This could be an opportunity to truly spread the spirit of joy and love to unsuspecting people including our loved ones. Enjoy the journey.