That’s what the stranger says to me, as he runs out the FedEx depot door.
I’d been asking myself a question about Christmas for years, desperately trying to find an answer amidst the busyness, the consumerism, and the traditions of the season.
The question that started lingering in my head, my heart, and my soul a few years ago is this: What Does Jesus Want For Christmas?
It’s a celebration of his birthday after all, right?
No matter what it has become through the centuries, no matter if the exact date is correct or not, Christmas Day started as a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
So what’s the best way to celebrate this most special day of the year?
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Christmas trees (I drive my family nuts getting our 15-year-old artificial spruce to look “just right”), and twinkling lights hanging on my house, and yule log cakes, and stuffed stockings on Christmas morning, and a new tradition for our family – Chinese food on Christmas Day (as per the movie A Christmas Story).
But still the question lingers…
And I find myself standing in the Fed Ex depot, waiting for the clerk to tally up a price for my four boxes for family afar, and print the shipping labels that will get the boxes to their destination in 2-3 days ground shipping. The prices are great at Fed Ex, and the service has been wonderful on this busy holiday night. I’m grateful for this, for less stress in crossing this task off the to-do list.
A man comes in the depot behind me, and I see he’s only got one small item to take care of, and I say it’s OK if they help him – I’ll wait. That’s probably something Jesus would be happy about, right?
The clerk goes in the back for a few moments, and the man sighs and starts talking to me.
He says something like this:
“I don’t know about the way we’re doing this holiday. I don’t have much, and I don’t get much, but it’s more than most, you know? I heard about a lady who just started inviting homeless people into her home for a meal, and it started as only a few, and now these dinners happen all the time and lots of people come and she’s got donations from Costco and others to put on these dinners. I think that’s what it’s really about.”
I feel a God moment coming on here – like the answer to my question is within reach – like God is talking to me through this Fed Ex “angel” (aren’t angels simply God’s messengers – whether they’re spirit or flesh and blood?). I want to listen, I want to get it. I try and choose my words wisely, try to share a little of what’s on my heart in response to this man who’s searching for the same answers as I am.
“I’m convinced it could all be much more simple than this. I don’t think it has to be so crazy at this time of year.”
I wait for him to share some more, and he does.
“I got this list from someone in my family who is 30 years old. I can understand getting a list from a child, but not when you’re over 30. They don’t need any of this stuff. I’d rather give money to the lady who is hosting all those dinners.”
I keep nodding my head, listening intently to the sidewalk preacher in front of me. I feel like yelling “Preach it brother!” But I hold those words inside. There are a few others in the Fed Ex depot now, they came in after our conversation had started, and they look a little confused. I don’t want to scare them off, and I think this “angel” has a message to share with the world.
I knew I would be sharing it here as soon as I heard the next words that came from his mouth. I knew this message was one to spread around the world however I could.
It was the answer to my lingering question about what Jesus would want, summed up in few eloquent words thrown back over a stranger’s shoulder as he ran out the Fed Ex door…
“Let’s All Help At Least One Person This Christmas!”
Yes, keep preaching it brother!
“Sounds good!” I yell in reply. I hope he heard me. I hope he knows that at least one person was listening that night.
It doesn’t mean I’ll pitch the Christmas tree or stop stuffing the stockings or never buy a yule log cake again. We’ll most likely keep visiting the Chinese buffet for years to come.
It does mean that helping others goes at the top of the Christmas list, instead of somewhere in the middle or the last-minute gift idea. Finding ways to help others will take more and more priority as the years progress.
Help at least one person this Christmas season – yes, I CAN do that. Yes, I WANT to do that.
Happy Birthday Jesus.
I love you.