Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christ and the quarter

Like the crazy woman that I am, I decided to brave the local Wal-Mart six days before Christmas. If you value your sanity, this is not recommended. People are loud, rushing, short-tempered, and grumbly.

It was raining as we got out of the car. The kids and I were lucky enough to park close to the doors. As we approached, I saw that there was a Salvation Army Bell Ringer out front. I remembered that I had some change (which is rare) so each child got a quarter to drop in the bucket. We went on and did our shopping, trying to get out of there for as little as possible. Those last few gifts for Jonathan are nagging me. (he got a Hot Wheels cars and a very soft blue fleece shirt, which he needed).

So we're leaving and I dig my own quarter out for the Bell Ringer. In the rain, this woman is standing there ringing the bell. Smiling. In the rain. She's a beautiful African woman, with the traditional headwrap...So I put my quarter in and say, "Merry Christmas to you.".......then I noticed that she reached in her pocket of her jacket and removed a lil notepad and put a checkmark and replied, "Merry Christmas."

Now, I am way too curious to let this slide...and I just have to know. So I asked her what's up with the notepad. So she tells me that she's keeping track of how many people actually say Merry Christmas to her. I asked if Wal-Mart was doing that or was it the Salvation Army.....she replied that no, it was for her own benefit. She says, in a beautiful accent, "In my country, you cannot openly worship Jesus Christ. You are not allowed to be a believer...and here we sit in this city of Freedom, and people do not exercise their right to religion. I do not understand that...."

I gulped. And realized that she's right. So many people don't say, "Hey! It's the birth of CHRIST, not the coming of Santa Claus...." The birth of Jesus is getting swept away with commercialism. Has been for a while now. And this beautiful godly woman, from another country where she would be persecuted for her Christian beliefs, can see it, too.

So I walked away with my eyes brimming with tears.
I thanked her and told her again, Merry Christmas.

9 comments:

Christy said...

We do take advantage and are so careless with our freedom's and some even think it's ok for those freedom's to be ripped away, and are good with sending us into a socialist nation.

God Bless her for keeping track and being able to sit in wonder of those who actually are not afraid to share their faith in Christ Jesus!

Merry Christmas, Suzanne!

ohhollyf said...

I love that you asked, what a Christmas treat to be reminded.

Nekey said...

oh ... you brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing. I am visiting from Kris's weekly wrap up btw. ;-)

Jessica said...

OK Suzanne you just officially made me cry! Thanks! LOL!No, seriously that was a beautiful story and so true. Many people all year around don't seem to appreciate the wonderful freedoms that we share here in America. Thanks for sharing that!

FXSmom said...

This reminds me of how every year at work we send out a Christmas card to our clients at work. And every year a coworker and I fight for them to put down Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. We know that our clients are Christians and celebrate Christmas and not other holidays. We live in an area that has no one Jewish or celebrate the other winter holidays. But every year the big boss chooses the P.C. term and goes with Happy Holidays. Though I didn't think until now that I could write Merry Christmas when I sign my name...hmmm.

Berry Patch said...

Goose bumps! Reading that just made me think. My sister & another friend went out to lunch Saturday. Our waitress left the bill & said, "Happy Holidays!" My sister & I both chime in..."Merry Christms!" The waitress than said, "phew - people get so weird about that & so I play it safe & say Happy Holidays but you're right- Merry Christmas!" ;-) Too bad it's gotten so screwy out there. The focus needs to be on CHRIST at Christmas...

Anonymous said...

Here's a ? for you that my son and I debate on: If you celebrate Christmas and your friend celebrates Hanukkah, do you wish your friend a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah? I say respect their beliefs and wish them what matters to them, but my son says you should wish people what you believe in. Since Christmas and Hanukkah fall during the same week this year, the opportunity for this comes up a lot. Your thoughts?

SB said...

dear Anonymous:
If it were me, I would say Happy Hanukkah. You're extending your good wishes to them. It would then be up to them to say Merry Christmas to you, I guess. Goodness knows I am no Emily Post!

Or you could go general purpose and say, "Enjoy the Season." I can always ask a friend of mine who is Jewish and she what she says....

MandyMom.com said...

Definitely something to hold dear in our hearts!