It is the day after Thanksgiving and I have not started my Christmas shopping. Apparently, I am far behind many of you. Predictions were that 26.5 million Americans not only ate Thanksgiving dinner yesterday but did some holiday shopping as well. And, more will be out today, on “Black Friday,” or dong their shopping online on “Cyber Monday.”
I don’t hate shopping; I enjoy watching the professionals at work. Their skills in finding the best deals and in planning their shopping excursions astound me.
When I am shopping, I resemble one of three states:
- Focused. In this case I am moving fast with a list held tightly in my left hand. This strategy works well early in the shopping season.
- Lost. This is when I am really not shopping but am simply wandering around. John and I were in an Omaha shopping mall when two teenage girls quickly walked around us. One snorted to the other, “I think that we were just passed by snails.” (We still love that line and try to work it into the conversation when we are in a crowd.)
- Clueless. You will see me acting like this late in the season if I need to buy “just one more” gift. I find myself attracted to whatever is on the end of the aisle or in the store window.
One of my favorite shopping stories featured a young girl who was in my Sunday School class. She was about 5 when she and her mom were in a clothing store. A rather large woman passed by them, carrying on a hanger a dress for a grade school girl. My sweet little friend, looked at the woman and looked at the dress and announced loudly, “That’s not going to fit you.” Luckily, the woman smiled and nodded, replying “You are probably right.” That woman had the right attitude!
So, as you think about starting (or continuing) Christmas shopping, don’t forget that it isn’t just about doing the buying. Giving of ourselves to those we love benefits us. I love the line from the prayer of Saint Francis: “For it is in giving that we receive.” Remember that in giving a gift, we can bring the peace of Christ to others.
The Prayer of Saint Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.