It's the most wonderful time of the year! I've got my candycane earrings complemented by my red snowflake accented nails. Of course I'm wearing all my Merry Christmas shirt. And it's all topped off with a new gift I just received. It's one of the most important accessories, and now one of my favorites, a Santa Claus hat complete with a little rhinestone crown. For those of you who know me well you realize why there is not only irony in this gift but also how ridiculously appropriate it is. I've been called the queen, a diva, former pageant has-been, you name it. Either way it somehow seems a little bit fitting that there is a princess crown combined with my Santa hat. Yes I am wearing it all today and I am also wearing a genuine grin comimg from the joy and Christmas cheer that I feel.
It's going to be an insanely busy day. The traffic yesterday was only a small indication of all of the plans and preparations that are being made for this holiday. I'm not used to working on Christmas Eve but Ive quickly discovered the life in retail and restaurant business involves this as one of the busiest days of the year. So it is my hope to be able to spread some Christmas cheer with my coworkers and with all of the guests who will be by today.
It was yesterday when that joy was spread to me. When a six-year-old boy showed me the meaning of Christmas. He was waiting in line to see Santa and it was my job to bring along the Chick-fil-A cow to greet those who were standing in the line. Guests were pleased to see the cow although it was truly the man in red they were waiting for.
The excitement and anticipation on the faces of these children was evident as they were fidgeting and restless waiting for the iconic image of Christmas. The Cow dressed in his elf costume provided a little bit of a distraction as I encouraged conversation by asking them what they wanted for Christmas.
There was a sweet little family sitting down in line eating their Chick-fil-A lunch.
Of course I greeted them and thanked them for their patronage. I asked how their lunch was and they were more than obliged to shake hands with the cow. But when I asked what it was they wanted for Christmas, I was not prepared for the shock that I would receive from the mouth of the six-year-old boy.
"I'm not asking for any presents," he said. Truthfully the response took me off guard to the point that I was actually speechless. His mother obviously saw my reaction and encouraged him to explain. He continued that it had been his wish for Christmas to give up all of his presents so that he could help others in need. His older sister was nodding her head in agreement, but then she was quick to add that it had all been his idea. At first I wondered if she was upset about it but she seemed to be completely in agreement with the plan. Their mother further explained that it was their desire to make sure that the money that would have been spent on their presents was instead going to be sent to the tornado victims who still were without homes and many of the necessary items that they need to live on a daily basis.
The entire story brought me to tears. I not only thank them for their generosity and for such kind hearts but I thanked them for sharing their story with me.
Suddenly I was painfully aware of the money that I have spent on presents. I was aware of all of the good intentions that I had meant to fulfill and had frivolously worried about. There's not a single thing that I need or want under the Christmas tree this year, but I know for certain there will be presents addressed to me. What if I had given up all of my gifts and instead sent the money to those who needed it more than me?
Once again I was reminded that Christmas is not about the gifts under the tree or the cards sent in the mail. Christmas is about the heart of the giver. Even the most lavish and extravagant gift, even the most expensive item that money could buy, cannot replace the gift that was given to each of us to ensure that our hearts are with Christ in eternity. It cost Him everything. He left nothing out. He gave it all up. For you. For me.
The heart that seeks to celebrate the birth of our Savior this year is the heart that gives a gift with the intent of impacting a life. Random acts of kindness and intentional acts of serving are given with such a heart.
My outfit today may be a little bit ridiculous. My combustion of Christmas carols and exuberant holiday joy may be over-the-top. But yesterday a little boy taught me the true meaning of Christmas and giving and today it is my intent to share the joy of the season and the birth of our Savior with everyone I come in contact with. Merry Christmas. Jesus is born!!