Christmas Eve was here finally! After cooking several dishes this morning, I pounced on the couch, I Pad on my stomach, reading and then napping. But, God had something else for me to do today. “You need to go see Jane.” Jane has been my friend for many years, and she loves Christmas! Physically disabled, she gets so much joy out of the Christmas season. Her little apartment is full of Christmas. The UPS man is her favorite person during this season, bringing her gifts that she had ordered on QVC.
I had a little present to take to her, and so after wrapping it, I got in my car to drive the short distance to Jane’s apartment. John opened the door. John is Jane’s son. He grew up in our church, an angry, petulant child who grew to be an angry young man. ‘”How are you, John?” I asked. His answer was a curt, “Fine, Cindy.” John began chiding his mother that there wasn’t any food in the house. “We should have gone shopping yesterday, Mom. Now, it’s too late, because Dad won’t be home until after the grocery store closes since it’s Christmas Eve. “ Jane was quiet for a moment, and then she said, “I bet Ms. Cindy would take you to the store. You can use my debit card, but don’t spend too much.” John grumbled, and then walked over to me and said, “Well, would you take me? “ Oh great, I thought. Not something I really wanted to do this afternoon, going out to the store on a busy Christmas Eve. “Sure, John, come on.”
We got in the car, making small talk. Away from his mother, John, is a lot more pleasant. I asked him what he was doing now, and he told me he was working for a big box store. “I’ve been working there for about a year and a half, and I love my job!” Surprised, I asked him some more questions. “I have my fork-lift certification, so that might help me get an even better job someday. But, I want to stay in this job for a while because I really like it.” Asking about me, I talked to him a little bit about how God had turned my life upside down this last year with my cancer diagnosis.
Arriving at the busy parking lot at the store, I told John that I would just stay in the car and wait for him, not wanting to fight all those last minute shoppers. “Sure,” he said and slammed the door.
I spent the next 20 minutes talking to my brother on the phone. Before long, I heard the car door open, and John began filling the back seat with groceries. Looks like he got a little more than the $20.00 his mom told him to spend on her debit card, I thought to myself. John climbed in the front seat, turned to me and said shaking his head, “You will never believe what just happened. The lady behind me in line just bought all my groceries!” It seemed that when John was checking out, one particular item would not go through on his Mother’s card. Embarrassed, he began fishing for his own wallet. The lady behind him said, “I’ll take care of that for you!” Thinking that she was going to just take care of the $3.00 item that wouldn’t go through, he was astounded when the cashier told him that she had paid for everything! Thanking her over and over again, he couldn’t believe that someone would do something like that for him!
On the drive home, we talked. “Man, I feel so obligated to that lady!”
“John, consider that a gift from God.” I explained. “Some day you can pay that forward. I can just see you one Christmas Eve taking your children out to the store and telling them that you want to buy groceries for someone!”
“Yeah, that would be pretty cool!” He smiled.
John’s face lights up when he smiles. The whole atmosphere inside the car had changed. We talked about God and maybe what God is doing in his life. We even talked about where he might go to church in the small town where he lived.
When we got back to his mom’s apartment, he walked in shouting, “Mom, you’ll never believe what happened!”
What an amazing gift that God gave to me this afternoon. A short trip to see a friend turned into an opportunity for me to see God bless an angry young man who really needed a special touch from God.
Miracles still do happen at Christmas.