Saturday, December 19, 2009
Peace and Good Will to All
I walked through the mall, intent on purchasing my first Christmas present of the season. Christmas was a week away, and I was way behind in my preparations. To be honest, it was a challenge to consider the gifts of Christmas when I was so busy dwelling on what was missing.
Instead of reconciliations, it had become something of a Christmas tradition in my life for relationships to splinter at this time of year, painfully, and, to my way of thinking, unnecessarily. Lately I had felt the void of what God promised Christ would bring, peace and good will, acutely.
"Kima!" A woman jumped out from behind a vendor's cart in the middle of the mall and thrust herself in my path. Hidden from my view, she could have escaped my notice. But she made sure that didn't happen.
It had been several months since we saw each other, and we spent a few minutes catching up. "I think of you often," she said.
"I was thinking about you just yesterday," I replied. Curiously, this was true. Yet I have come to understand this is how God works. He brings someone to mind for purposes of His own. In this case, perhaps it was because this woman and I were destined to meet, and it was God's way of prompting me to pay attention when it happened.
"I've still got you on my speed dial," she continued. I nodded. I was ready to move on, to continue my shopping and my silent heartache. But she wasn't ready to let me.
She dug in her purse and fished out her phone, scrolling through her contact list until she found my name. "There you are are," she said triumphantly, holding the phone up for my inspection. Then she held my gaze.
There I was. And there, in her phone and in her eyes, was the promise of Christmas. This woman had first called me as a parent reaching out on behalf of her child. It was a connection she had not forgotten, nor one she was prepared to sever. While I mourned how easily people abandoned relationships, she was declaring her intention to hang on.
The true gift of Christmas always comes in humble wrappings. The first Christmas took place in a raw stable and a crude manger. This year it came to me wrapped in a cell phone and woman who extended her good will, for no good reason.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on the earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." ~ Luke 2:14