Peace reigns for frayed shoppers
THE dreaded questions. When are we going to do our Christmas shopping and what on earth will we buy?
Yes, it’s that time of year, and the annual struggle to buy meaningful Christmas gifts is upon us.
What did we do last year? Ah yes. We hit upon a great way to bless family and close friends – and at the same time help others in need.
We bought spark plugs, rivets, jerry-cans of petrol and windsocks. Then we helped to stock a toolbox and potentially save a life or two by contributing to the cost of urgent medical evacuations in New Guinea. Yes, we’ll channel our Christmas gift budget to Mission Aviation Fellowship again this year and help keep that fantastic ministry to remote communities doing what they do best: Helping the severely disadvantaged. That’s where our money gets the most bang for our buck. And as a bonus, the feedback we received when family and friends responded to the cards that informed them of the gift we had given on their behalf was heartwarming to say the least.
So, we’ll sidestep the experience of Lucinda Norman who
‘‘ THIS YOUNG MAN’S EXAMPLE HAD REMINDED ME OF THE PEACE THAT CHRIST CAME TO BRING.
writes of her ordeal while shopping for Christmas presents at her local shopping centre.
The place was crowded and people had been pushing, elbowing and cutting in front of her all day. At one point she spotted a lace tablecloth – a 50% off special. Picking it up, she was feeling the quality of the material when another woman rudely pulled it from her hands, looked her in the eye and said, “mine”. But Lucinda grabbed it back and stared her down.
By 4pm she was tired, stressed and belligerent and sought some refreshment in a busy coffee shop that advertised table service. She flagged down a server and snapped: “I need a cup of tea – now.” The waitress retorted: “I’m not your server. Wait your turn.” Lucinda responded: “Lady, I’ve been waiting my turn all day. Bring me some tea.” But the waitress ignored her. A few moments later, a friendly young man came to their table, smiled broadly and said: “I’m Rob, your waiter.” After he took her order, Lucinda watched Rob as he helped the rude waitress with her tray. He greeted the other customers and staff with calming words and that ready smile. In the midst of all the tired customers and chaos of the season, he had a polite and unhurried atmosphere of calm. When he refilled her teacup, Lucinda noticed a silver ring on his finger made of connected letters spelling Jesus. Recalling the experience later she wrote: “From that moment on, my attitude changed. This young man’s example had reminded me of the peace that Christ came to bring.” And for the rest of the day Lucinda enjoyed shopping, opened doors for others, smiled often and let those with a smaller number of items to purchase take her place in the checkout queue. She’d found inner peace in a tumultuous setting.
The second Sunday in the Christian season of Advent, as we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ-child, the Saviour of the world, focuses on peace. Jesus is described as the Prince of Peace and inner peace is a gift he imparts to all who embrace him by affording him his rightful place as Lord of their lives.
So, may his peace be with you. Especially as you shop.