I thought I had this in the bag.
Turns out I needed another bag or two.
I actually had done the majority of my Christmas shopping online this year. In all honesty, I have no idea whether I saved money or not because I don’t bounce around from site to site looking for the lowest prices. I’m just not that kind of shopper (instead, I’m the kind of shopper that retailers love). I figure that, as an Amazon Prime member, I’m getting free shipping, so it probably all equals out in the end.
So here it is, Christmas Eve. Imagine my consternation when I realized I still had to get a gift for a family member of the male persuasion. I knew what I wanted — ideally it would be a t-shirt with a humorous saying. So I went to our local acres-large department store to find one.
I found the humorous t-shirts, all right. They were all in the women’s department. (They were actually displayed along the walkway — I didn’t have to go into the department, in case you were wondering why I would be looking in the women’s department for a humorous men’s t-shirt.) The men’s department gave me nothing. As in zilch. Nada. Zip. However, the men’s department did have jersey-type t-shirts with sports team logos on them.
Now, for those of you who may have accidentally stumbled onto this site and who don’t know me that well, you need to understand that I am the world’s worst sports fan. I know nothing about any of the most popular sports, be it football, baseball, basketball, hockey — you name it.
However, I do know that this relative of the male persuasion happens to be a huge Eagles fan. So the first decision had been made — it had to have an Eagles logo on it. Riffling thru all the shirts, I realized that I also needed to be attentive to things like size and — of all things — whether the article had a price tag on it (one shirt was perfect — Eagles logo, the right size, etc., except that it was missing a price tag, and I was darned if I was going to stand in the checkout line waiting for the cashier to look it up.)
I finally found just what I wanted with all the required accouterments. Of course, it’s Christmas Eve day, so the lines to the checkouts were abysmally long. I managed to choose the fastest “speedy checkout” lane (a minor miracle in itself) and laid the shirt on the counter. There was an older couple behind me. The fellow smiled and said, “That should say ‘Ravens!'”
All I know is that the Ravens are a sports team. I have no idea what he meant by the comment. So I retreated by saying, “Well, this isnt for me; it’s for my [ __________ fill in the blank].” He made some kind of comment about the Eagles doing well, and I responded with, “I think they have a good chance of being in the playoffs.”
Now, for me, that was a much more intelligent (not to mention risky) comeback than I’m actually qualified to make. The only reason I even mustered enough courage to say it is because I was sure the sports reporter on TV had made that observation. For whatever reason, that was the end of the conversation, thank the good Lord.
In the midst of all the last-minute whatevers (shopping, gift-wrapping, card sending), I still try to keep first and foremost in my mind how this holiday got started. We have neighbors who have a huge banner along the spindles of their front porch handrail with the oft-repeated reminder, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” It’s a fact we can’t escape, no matter how bright we make the lights, how loud we play the music, or how deep in gift wrap we bury ourselves.
May this Christmas include time to remind ourselves of how grateful we should be to God for sending Jesus into our sin-sick, war-torn, poverty-stricken world. He is our true hope.