Joy in Chaos


Have I already said I hate shopping? I hate crowds, noise, waiting in line... When shopping for gifts, I'm never confident that I'm choosing something that would be useful or appreciated. I get lost in large stores and can't remember where the departments are. I don't like driving, traffic, parking, or dodging cars in the lot.

So on a day spent going from bank to store to store to store to store... With a know-it-all teenager and rambunctious child in tow... Where did I find joy?

In my devotions this morning, I read Paul's letter to the Philippians. At the time he writes it, he is in prison. Talk about chaos! He writes: "In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy (Philippians 1:4)." Now, I wasn't exactly praying for my family  members as I shopped, but I tried to imagine their wants and needs, and how they would react when opening the gifts I purchased. Maybe it wasn't prison per se, but it was not my favorite place to be.

As begrudging as my attitude was, I couldn't help but smile when an elderly lady at Target apologized for my having to move my cart twice to let her pass, and she made a joke and wished me a merry Christmas. It wasn't a greeter or cashier who HAD to wish me a good holiday. It was a simple acknowledgement that this hustle bustle situation was temporary, and all for a good cause. Christmas. Giving. Showing love.

I didn't have much to share with the bell ringer and the red kettle, but I felt I had to give something. And later, when discussing the benefits of egg nog to the bagger at Martin's, I passed on the wishes. "Merry Christmas," I said. And I meant it.  

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