Me too . . . eventually . . . but not before I get some last minute shopping done.
I stand alone at the jewelry counter as the sales woman finishes up with another customer. I’ve hunted for weeks, and the pretty bracelet I look at is perfect for Deb. Now, I’m anxious to get home, to finish wrapping, baking, and getting ready for Christmas Day’s excitement.
“Oh!” I stiffen as something smooths across my foot!
Time takes a coffee break, and I squelch another yelp as the sensation suddenly moves up my ankle.
Imagination says it’s a snake, logic says otherwise—it feels like a hand. Impossible. Do I dare move?
Fear freaks me into a stone pillar as a voice wafts up from the vicinity of the tile beneath my feet and says “You have stockings on!”
I wrench in a breath and look behind me. A Jack-in-the-Box couldn’t have surprised me more than the young boy who jumps up from the floor. He looks to be thirteen or fourteen years old, is neatly dressed, and is nearly my height. His big brown eyes study me from behind wire-rimmed glasses. His left eye is badly crossed.
I see his innocence and I’m in instant prayer for him. He’s intellectually disabled. Maybe he thought I was a mannequin?
Fear melts. “Yes, I have stockings on.”
“Yes, I am. Do you know Jesus too?” I put my hand on his shoulder and let it linger a moment, as I tell him I love Jesus.
His brown skin shines. A wide grin spreads across his face. He repeats the word “Methodist” several times, rolls it over his tongue, savors it, pronounces it carefully. “And you say your prayers too?”
I nod. “I say my prayers too.”
And we talk for a while. Just he and me. About things important to him. Like Jesus. And saying prayers. Things that come from his heart.
Until he turns away . . .
Merrily and loudly he repeats the word “Methodist” as he moves toward the exit. And then he’s gone.
No one is with him that I can see, but there are those nearby who watch as I come away from this encounter and walk more fully into Christmas.
It’s always like being in the world alone with one other, just the two of us, until it’s time to part.
You have them, too, these God-centered, God-engineered, appointments.
I try to watch for them, try to be ready for them, but always, they surprise me, and leave me with an afterglow of joy. Every time.Are you ready? Ready for those moments when God places his children in your space? For reasons you may never really understand?
“God wants us to be present where we are. He invites us to see and to hear what is around us and, through it all, to discern the footprints of the Holy.” Richard Foster
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18a)
“Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:19).
☺ I know it’s only April and that Christmas is months away. But last week a title and this post, a little out of sync, dropped into my heart and mind, so I wrote it down—for future reference—of course. And then the word, “ready” popped up again, stuck around, and kept asking what I was waiting for . . . So that’s why you’re reading about Christmas in April. ☺