Saturday, December 10, 2005

Deanna and I went Christmas shopping yesterday. It started out fine, and then as you can imagine, got very busy. We had been in a department store, and thought we had finished. Upon leaving, remembered a gift we hadn't picked out. We returned.

In that short a period of time, the lines had gone from 'walk up to the register,' to 'wait in line in the maze of chains and poles' until it is your turn to check out. I love long lines. And when I am done, I like to go get teeth drilled and MRI exams. I did discover however, that waiting can be fun if you make it fun.

Deanna and I decided to make it fun. We laughed, and joked about bits of nothing, but it brought enjoyment to a frustrating experience. Deanna's body language changed when I told her I was okay with waiting, and was not in my usual hurry. She relaxed and became light-hearted. What was excruciating, became a time to remember.

Thank you Lord for allowing me to see joy in an experience I would usually find much annoyment in.

The guy behind us in line saw it a little differently. He was about to find out that he was waiting in the wrong line, and had been for quite awhile. He simply wanted to make an exchange. He decided he was going to show them. He was just going to buy the item he wanted to exchange for, and return later to finish. He used some wrather flowery language to describe his intent. Those around him enjoyed it as it made them laugh.

Then it happened. An older lady with a very bad wig, tripped and fell, right near the registers. I was appauled at the lack of store staff response. Apparently, they did not want to evoke the wrath of customers who were waiting in line. I hopped out of line and went to help her up. Asked if she was okay, she responded she thought she had hurt her foot. I went to a clerk and asked if I could have their stool for her to sit on. They complied.

Eventually a manager came and filled out an accident report with her.

I know I risk some believing I share this story in a self-promoting way, but my intent is to point out that at a time when we are gearing up to celebrate the birth of our Lord, there are things we can do to make a stressful time, less so.

Don't be in a hurry (AM I LISTENING TO ME?)! Look for ways to reach out to those who are in need. Speak kindly to those who are may be the only Christ they see this Christmas. Enjoy those you are with, for the moments may last for a lifetime.

By all means, reach out. Not only will you bless, but you will be blessed.



At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent, thank you so much for the wonderful advice to just SLOW DOWN this Christmas season! (ive been wanting to say "Christmas" for quite a while now, since i work in retail and i am forbidden to do so for "fear of OFFENDING someone"...but whatever, we just arent going to talk about that) anyway...the woman with the bad wig...thats so funny (not that she fell) because i swear she must shop at Old Navy because i know ive seen her! haha. im glad you did step out of line to help her out. how could anyone watch someone fall, young or old, and not stop to help them and make sure they're okay? i dont think you should get a nomination for "the Nobel Peace Price" (in response to a rather RUDE comment left by an anonymous blogger) but i AM glad that you took the time to remind us all that we are the only Christ some people will see this Christmas season. thank you for reminding me of that. ill see you at church on sunday.
love you.
-amanda andrews...and mark too i guess. haha jk!

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear B. J.'s Family,

I haven't been here in a while, I do continue to keep you in my prayers! Thank you for keeping this site active!
I pray that you and your family will have a blessed Christmas together. I know that it will be hard,on you this year since B. J. went to Heaven. He will be sharing this beautiful holiday with our Lord and Savior! From what you have told us, there is no doubt that B.J. will be sining "Happy Birthday Jesus" the loudest!
Please know that you are always in our thoughts and prayers!
Merry Christmas, and god Bless You !
Love in Christ,
from Bethlehem, PA.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Lattany said...

I seem to be so much more aware of the "Christmas season" this year, than I have been in the past. Perhaps it's the marked de-Christianization of Christmas or perhaps just that I'm older -- either way, it's made me think about alot of different things.

I was at Starbucks (noticing a trend? hehe) the other day, and had picked up three extra drinks to take to work for the people I work with. There was an elderly man also waiting for a drink who smiled, as I one-by-one claimed the drinks the barista put on the bar and added them to my growing "collection". He quietly said, "Drinking all those yourself, eh?" I smiled, chuckled, and said, "Not hardly -- I wouldn't sleep for weeks!" He beamed, and I said "merry Christmas" as I left. As I returned to my car, I thought of the big smile that man gave me when I spoke to him in a loud voice and smiled. You would have thought I had just given him the greatest gift in the world -- it had, no doubt, made his day. A far cry from the girl I had seen at Walmart the day before roll her eyes, when an elderly man made a kidding comment to her. So simple, and yet so profound.

I often find myself plagued with guilt when I think of missed opportunities to share Christ with those I encounter. I wonder if I am the only person who will share the Gospel with the employee ringing up my purchases, or if the neighbor will have someone else share the Gospel with them. And while seizing these opportunities are very important -- even crucial -- God, in that "still small voice" reminds me that I can share the Gospel with others through my actions, as well as my words. No doubt, God blessed that man at Starbucks with a small picture of His love through my simple response. I love how Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Yes, the Bible declares with words His divine love for us, but it also emphasizes how He demonstrates that love to us.

And I smile at your story of bringing joy to waiting in line. My mom always tells us that "joy is a choice -- you can choose to be joyful!" So glad you have chosen joy. =)

Love in our dear Savior,
Fairfax, VA, USA

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

Brent, are you reading our mail? You posted "slow down" on a day when we went from a school service project to a church outreach event to a concert of dance involving one of our children. . .our busiest (scheduled) day of the season!

Although it didn't feel slow at all, God allowed us to find moments and, more importantly, people to treasure at each stop along the way. Thanks for the encouraging reminder. We are praying especially for all the students (Lauren, Awe Star and others)who are out there turning in papers and studying for exams. May God be glorified as you serve Him through your studies!

Praising Him in Charleston
(no snow on the horizon yet)

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

love you guys
-Brittany A.

At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thought of buying into the material world of Christmas has me in a whirl this year. I have decided that I will give this year - - but give gifts that are more from the heart; hand-made; memory embracers (pictures or videos); or just letters letting the people I love the most know what they really do mean to me. Taking the time to do those things seems like a better way to spend time than in line at the mall - - even though I know I'll be there eventually for last minute things!! And I will remember your words and CHOOSE to be happy, joyful and pleasant to those around me!

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christ sounds like the Spanish "Christo" and the "mas" is the Spanish word for "more." So basically we need to have Christ more in Christmas. I think your story was a wonderful and Spirit lead reminder. Thanks.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Nic and Jen said...

Amen!! Thank you for reminding all of us not to be in a hurry!! Have a blessed Christmas. I am glad you found time to enjoy yourselves.
Jennifer WA

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you working on a book? You should really write a book. I continue to learn from your entries. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us.

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahh.. what a reminder. i LOATHE Christmas shopping... the crowds. .THE LINES.. all of it. so thanks for this. i appreciate this reminder to be patient!

Love you all

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Cousin Beth said...

Helping someone else sounds just like you, Brent. We all need to be reminded to slow down and think of others.
This morning we had a whole family visit church as a result of the dinner theater when you were here. Praise the Lord for His continued working! Much prayer is going up from their loved ones that they will come to know Jesus.
Love you,

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Barbara Ann said...

Just wanted to say...LOVE YA!! Thanks for being such an encouragement! Gotta go study now for finals....ugh!

Have a great monday!

Barbara Ann

At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the reminder! I always get caught up in the end of the semester, last minute christmas shopping, busy holiday mood and forget to smile at strangers or just slow down and take a breath. So thank you for the reminder! I'm praying for you guys and thinkin about you all the time! I hope that finals aren't too stressful for the girls and that more comfort than sadness comes to y'all this christmas! Love you!
Houston, TX

At 1:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just wanted to share that last night bj was really on my mind. it is such a strange thing when you really think about it to think so often of a boy (man!) whom i never met. last night as i was reading scripture i came across the story in acts of paul and silas in prison, the earthquake, and the prison guard and his entire family subsequently coming to christ. as i prayed and tucked in for bed all i could think of was my mental version of your bj living out a story i have read here in posts by bloggers and i believe recanted with you. i have laughed often about your remarks about his height and tried to imagine that day in peru when he approached police officers or peruvian officials in the street and inquired about christ, i believe bringing 4 to the lord. it was just a very sweet vision from god, again of a boy i never met or heard speak, with the courage and fire for god to walk up to people who were not "safe" to share the gospel with and inquire about where they would spend their eternity. i of course imagine a small boy and huge burly guard-like men, but just to think about how the reality of those men's life changed that day and all of the people that could be affecting right now. it was a cool moment, and i spent some time praying for all of those bj has saved, but especially those officials in peru. just wanted to share that it isn't that we are just praying or just being touched by your devotionals, but that your son's stories are forever being ingrained in those of us who read and are changing people's futures. praise god.


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