2nd and 14th

"When Everything Stops"

     There are those moments for me during the holidays when everything stops.  I love everything about Christmas, even the hustle and bustle.  But there are those moments when it seems everyone around you is mad and frustrated, even a deep anxiety pervades all around..  And I like many others ask, where is Jesus in all this chaos.  

      But there have been a couple of times, one a couple of years ago and one this week where I was able to see love in the middle of the mayhem.  And the impact is so great that everyone and everything seems to stop.  

      The one I remember the most happened a few years ago when I was watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  The broadcast networks have numerous cameras placed along the parade route and one camera was pointed at the entrance to Macy's department store.  And people were flowing in and out of the store.  And as people came out there arms were full of beautiful packages.  But suddenly a homeless man pushing a grocery cart with all his possessions walked in front of the camera.  He stopped and smiled at the camera and at that moment everything seem to stop, including the shoppers who seemed frozen in place. It was if Christmas was in front of all of us to see.

       The next time this happened was this week.  I was standing in the checkout line with only one item, and in front of me was a lady with two small children and an overflowing grocery cart. She was tired and she seemed full of anxiety. And the people in my line and the others on either side were moaning and complaining, the frustration oozing out.  But I noticed the man who was in front of the lady with the full cart stopped and waited after checking out.  And after all the items were scanned for the lady, the man walked up to her, put his arms around her, said Merry Christmas and swiped his credit card paying for all of her items and then he walked away, and everything stopped, the moaning and groaning, frowns turned to smiles and a sense of love surfaced in all of us.  We were able to experience Christmas, to see Jesus and everything stopped.  

     My prayer is that we will all have those moments this week and in the weeks ahead where we will see Jesus in a world that is full of anger, frustration and anxiety.  He is here, we just need to stop and look around us.  Merry Christmas