I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my parents, brothers and sisters and their families. I cooked my first turkey and it was delish! We sat around, talked and laughed and planned our courses for BLACK FRIDAY the next day. As I began to puruse the ads, I felt sheer panic setting in. There were so many amazing deals. Where would I begin? I had a limited cash flow. What would I spend it on? So I made a list, charted my course, decided what I was going to have for breakfast at IHOP at 6:30a in the morning and went to bed. I awoke on Black Friday at 9:30a. I thought to myself, “You’d better hurry up. The mega sales end at 11:00a.” Who cares, I promptly told myself and rolled over and slept for another hour!
My daughter and I did venture out about 11:00a. First stop, Peets Coffee! After all, who shops without first having coffee? Next, we went to the clothing store where my sister works. I was after $5 shirts and slippers. I was in the store for about 10 mins when I heard a commotion on the other side of the store. My sister was on the phone to 911. As I walked over, a woman was laying flat on her back, arms rigid in the air, convulsing of a seizure. No one was at her side, yet there were several who were looking at her. Not medically trained, I wasn’t sure what I could do. But I could PRAY! I rushed to her side, laid hands on her and began to ask for the presence of Jesus to come. By that point, she was foaming at the mouth and bleeding a lot from her nose (possibly due to hitting her head when she fell). A nurse who was in the store came over. We rolled the woman on her side. There was blood everywhere. On the floor, on me. We grabbed shirts off of clearance racks to try and minimize the damage to the carpet. We waited for about 15 minutes before the EMT arrived. Some had panic on their faces, and I could have given in to it. Yet I prayed, silently and calmly for this woman to be invaded with the love and healing of Jesus. I will never know what impact I may have made, but I felt good as I walked away knowing I did something.
Next stop, the mall. By this time it was already 12:30. I could tell getting off the freeway that the parking lot was filled to capacity. So I asked Jesus to provide “Princess Parking” and found a pretty good spot right outside JC Penny, where my beloved bar stools were on sale from $99 to $39. But I had missed the sale. They had been marked up to $89. Bummer. Oh well, I said to myself. The sale will come around again. I did manage to pick up a “Buy One Toy Story Talking Buzz Light Year” get “A Talking Woody for Half Off”! That was a deal for me and I was done. And home we went.
As the Christmas shopping season has officially begun, it can be quite chaotic out there. Stores looked like they had been hit by a tornado. There were screaming children everywhere. Poor things, they see things they want and can’t have. People tend to be more rude, cutting you off as you go to park and elbowing you as you walk. I watched so many people carrying so many packages and wondered what they had bought. Was it all worth it? Was it all necessary?
In this season, I have to be very purposeful in keeping JESUS in front of me at all times, so as to not lose sight of the true meaning. Although it makes my heart happy to be able to give to others, Christmas is not about Black Friday, Santa, Sales, More Sales, commercialism or fancy decorations (of which I have none). Christmas is ALL about JESUS. The baby born in a manger. The God head come in human form so that I could live. And Christmas IS about giving — of my time, my love and my giftings to others. Yet it’s hard not to get caught up in all of the hype.
Here are some things I do to keep me calm during this season:
- Focus on JESUS! I listen to worship music and Christmas music to keep me in perspective. I read His Word. I want to know this man, this greatest gift. I know that if I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, He will work everything else out.
- Make a plan and stick to it. There were so many amazing deals yesterday. I could have come home with a lot more than I did. However, yesterday was all about my little boy and his two greatest desires. And I got them. And they were on sale. My children know that things are tighter this year than normal. They have all been asked for their lists, and really aren’t asking for much. They know that a few presents under the tree and a lot of love is more than some kids have.
- Shop On Line. After yesterday, I think on line shopping is the way to go. I was able to log in at midnight to Best Buy on Thanksgiving morning and purchase an item for one of my kids at an $80 savings! Woo Hoo, God is good!
- Look for ways to help others. Yesterday someone had a need and I met it the only way I knew how. Sure, I lost time, could have bought those bar stools, but this was Kingdom Reality in motion and God used me to bring the Kingdom at that moment. Are you willing to sacrifice of your time to help another in need?
- Find JOY in the simple things. I was happy when I found the deal on the Toy Story toys for my son. But the day was even better sitting around the table with family last night, eating Chinese Food, listening to my son play his guitar and sing worship songs, and hearing my children laugh. These are the moments that flee all too soon. These are the moments I want to capture this season.
Praying that as you enter this season, you will rest in knowing that JESUS is all that matters. May He fill your spirit with peace and calmness and my you and your family be blessed beyond measure.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)