See the People Around You This Christmas

As I lay in bed this morning I was writing bits and pieces of this blog in my head. Drifting in and out of sleep I alternately prayed and wrote, prayed and wrote. So many thoughts and ideas flitting by. I am going to grab a few of them to share with you today.

I am a creature of habit. I grocery shop at the same store at the same time each week and make the effort to talk with the employees I come in contact with. I think we all have a need to be known and my routine allows me to be known in the midst of a big city at this particular store.  This week’s shopping excursion brought me in contact with 3 of my regulars.

The first was at the meat department where an employee played the game by greeting me and asking me if my Christmas shopping was done. When I returned the question he said no because Christmas was a holiday that did not really mean anything to him. A simple question – a profound answer – and an opportunity to pray that Christ would be brought into this man’s Christmas this year.

The second was the woman at check out. The one who smiles and has a kind word for everyone in her line. The one whose line is always the longest but I wait for anyway because I want to wish her a Merry Christmas. Because I now that she will ask about my plans and tell me about hers.

And the third? The third is the man who followed me out for a Christmas hug (as he put it) and to personally take my cart back into the store. The one who asks if my daughter is back from college and did I cry when I saw her? He asks because one Monday morning when he asked me how my weekend was I burst into tears because my daughter had just gone away to college. Through brief conversations during my weekly shopping trip I have learned that he has a relationship with his daughter that needs prayer.

As a creature of habit I do “Countdown to Christmas” for a couple of women in my life each year. Someone who could use a little extra encouragement. They open a small, inexpensive gift each day of the 5 days leading up to Christmas. One of the friends God directed me to this year sent me a text that said in part, “I know every gift will be like a hug from you, and also a reminder that I am ‘seen’ in a hard season.” That is exactly the point. Because don’t we all want a moment, in the chaos of a sometimes frantic holiday season, to slow down and to know that we are seen?

In Genesis 16:13 it says, “You are the God who sees me,” for she (Haggar) said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” At this time of year, when much of the preparation for Christmas falls on the women around me I want them to know that God sees them. And that when their efforts feel unappreciated, God appreciates them.  And that when they are weary they can climb into their Father’s lap and find rest.

Who are the people around you that need to know that they are “seen” this Christmas? The exhausted sales clerk, the weary young mom, the new neighbor, the maxed UPS driver? Take a moment to offer a smile and a kind word to the people who cross your path this holiday season.

Precious Father – Thank you that you are the God who sees us. Thank you that when we are weary we can find our rest in you. Help us this Christmas, in the midst of too much to do, to slow down and see the people around us. Please open opportunities to pray for the people we come in contact with Lord. Amen.