"That’ll be $80!"

“That’ll be $80. That’ll be $80. That’ll be $80”…said the clerk as she wrapped the ornaments I had selected. Not once looking up to see my card in hand ready to pay for my Christmas purchases.

It’s not unusual to run into folks with a little less Christmas cheer than one would expect during the Christmas season. After all it can be a busy time and the stress and demands run high. But this encounter took place at a Christian bookstore. One would expect a smiling face and cheerful, joy filled attitude to be filling the air in such a place where the employees know Jesus Christ and that His birth 2,000 years ago heralded God in human flesh coming to redeem humanity from their sin.

That no matter what was happens in her life she has security of peace with God. The certainty that when she dies…she will have eternal life in heaven with her Redeemer and Lord. The assurance that she is loved by God…who chose to bear her sins on the cross in order to that her sins would be forgiven and washed clean so she might spend eternity in heaven with Him. The comfort to know that the Holy Spirit dwells within her…guiding and directing her…and interceding in prayer on her behalf.

But none of that was visible on her face…instead her countenance reflected one carrying many burdens. Each customer representing someone who needed something…somebody else who was going to take away and not give back…with nary a thanks. Someone who may not care about the person behind the counter who was hurting and in need of love and assurance. Each person that she helped…seemed to take away a little bit more.

Her self involvement and pain that made her oblivious to those she was supposed to be helping. That surely wasn’t what I needed that day. Instead I needed a smiling face and a warm heart to greet me. I too was carrying a burden that day…rejection and cold heart from one I had respected…and my heart was hurting.

While tears had been shed the night before…that morning I was intent to do my level best to spread Christmas cheer. Dressed in Christmas attire…made complete with a jingle bell and my red velvet Santa’s hat…I was hoping to brighten people’s day. The words Merry Christmas could safely be said to one who obviously celebrates the blessed day.

Perhaps I was a wee bit on the quiet side that day…and rather wearing a big silly grin…a Mona Lisa smile graced my lips as I contemplated why I was rejection. But I was intent on making the best of that day. After all…it is the Christmas season…a time to celebrate Jesus Christ and God’s great gift of love…not only for me, but all of humanity.

While I needed an encounter with a bright and smiling face…I understood the pain and burden visible on the face of another human being. As I left the store…I wasn’t surprised to find God nudging me to get some CDs out of my car and give them to the downcast clerk. Recently…I’ve been handing out some Christmas CDs from my beloved former Pastor Chuck Obremski. But I knew that this girl…needed a dose of “Desperation to Dependence”.

I felt a little awkward as I walked back in the store and hoped that she was still behind the counter. I waited until she looked up…and then handed her the CDs. I don’t know the weight and burdens that girl is carrying…but I do know that God wanted me to reach out to her. Thanks to the faithful Audio Ministry at Kindred Community Church…I’m always able to have CDs available to place in the hands of someone in need.

I don’t know her burdens…but God does…and God provides. It is my prayer that God will use His word to comfort her and help her as she carries a heavy load during what’s supposed to be a happy and joyful season.

To the girl behind the counter…I wish you a very Merry Christmas…may you find the joy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this Christmas season.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8.


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