“I hate Christmas!” These were genuine feelings that had developed over the 7 years I had worked at as a cashier at a well-known chain discount store.
I had always loved Christmas all my life, until. . . .now. What could have brought such a change that would have taken my favorite time of year and turned it into something I dreaded?
Every year for the last 7 years the feelings had grown. It wasn’t fun anymore. It was no longer a happy time. Why?
Being in this discount store I had seen all the Christmas merchandise being put out for weeks until Thanksgiving rolled around. That’s when things changed.
The customers came in droves, pushing and shoving, trying to get those limited sale items before anyone else could get them. Those that didn’t make it in time became angry. Accusations were hurled, “Why did you advertise this item if you knew you only had a few?” The child beside this angry person was crying, wiping their runny noses on their sleeves.
By the time the customers reached the checkouts [where I was waiting to help them] they were tired and irritable [and so were their parents]. Crying was frequently heard from the children and angry tones and complaints from the parents. Out of boredom and curiosity the kids would start pulling merchandise off the checkout shelves, while Mothers yelled, “Put that back, do you hear me! Leave that alone! Don’t touch anything! Now you’ve done it, your going to get it when I get you home!” More crying. More yelling. No one in the lines were smiling. They were exhausted and frustrated.
They came with a mission, to obtain that unobtainable toy of the year for their child. How could they explain its absence on Christmas morning? After all, the child had sent their letter to Santa and it was his job to fulfill their every wish. But the parent knew that it was their job to see that “Santa” fulfilled their children’s every wish.
Something was wrong. Something was missing. The customers weren’t smiling and happy. Shopping for gifts for their loved ones was not a joy, not a labor of love. It was simply labor. And from the looks on their faces it was more like labor pains. For many it would mean going deeper in debt.
I looked at all the store’s decorations. Santa was everywhere. So was Rudolph and snowmen, snowflakes and Christmas balls, paper and ribbon. Something was definitely missing.
This had been a particularly taxing day and when I clocked out at 9PM I went straight home and collapsed on the side of my bed. That’s when I said it. “I hate Christmas! I don’t even see why we have to go through this every year.”
The moment the words came out of my mouth I felt a sharp pain. Something was under me and it had just jabbed a sharp point into me. I jumped up, afraid to see what had just attacked me. There lying on the bed, right where I had sat was a pin. The kind women wear on their lapels. It lay there upside-down with the pin sticking up. I hadn’t seen anything on the bed when I entered the room. Nothing had stuck me when I plopped myself down. Only when I uttered those words had I felt this pain. I slowly picked up the pin and turned it over. The words on the pin were
“Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”
Now I knew what had been missing. How could I have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? “Forgive me, Lord. And thank for making sure I got the point.”
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