Christmas, Not Yet


Christmas? I’m not ready at all . . . it isn’t even Thanksgiving.

Personal projects have kept me busy this year. No time to think about cooking a turkey or Christmas shopping.

One day last week, mid-November, we were adrift. Needed to burn a few hours before our next meeting. What better place to lounge than the mall, where there’s food, restrooms, and space to stretch our legs.

We admired Santa Claus’ temporary home. All red and green with a statuesque tree and over-sized sleigh. Festive.

Many of the stores had begun displaying winter wonderland themes.

Urgency definitely filled the air.

We stopped at the bustling food court for a pizza and salad.

At the table next to us coins were dropping out of a woman’s  backpack. She didn’t notice.

I leaned close so she could hear me over the white noise. “You’ve dropped a couple of quarters from your bag.”

Her smile instantly turned to alarm as she heard more coins falling to the floor. Her teenaged sons quickly dashed to collect them before they rolled away.

As the boys scampered, the rest of their party began to leave.

A grandma, who wanted their table, hovered then sat as they picked up their trays. Unfortunately, they left a mass of wet, torn paper towels, which hadn’t been on the table when they origianlly arrived.

The grandma watched expectantly for them to clean the table top. Instead, preoccupied, they walked away without doing so.

She looked at the table before her, then moved to the next chair, as far from the mess, but not far enough to reliquish the table she’d scouted.

Her eyes wandered around, but kept returning to the mess.

There was nowhere to move. If she got up to get paper towels someone would take her table. And, unfortunately, no cleaning person appeared within sight.

What to do.

Time for us to leave so I got up, took one tray and our excess napkins and cleaned her table.

Her look of surprise and gratitude was all the thanks I needed.

We nodded at one another before I walked away.

Christmas is about giving and, in that moment, Christian love in action.

I’m ready for Christmas now. Bring it on . . .


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