Jesus at the Grocery Store + More “Pennies”

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 5:19-20

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I’d like to put the world on pause today.  Keep my three-year-old cuddly in his footy pajamas.  Keep my eight-year-old laughing.  Keep the Christmas carols playing in the living room and my husband home from work.  This is the time of year I feel most at home in the world.

Earth mirrors heaven in December.  Every store I enter is playing carols.  Interspersed between heartwarming classics like “White Christmas” are songs that boldly proclaim our precious Savior.  Even the grocery store aisles become like aisles in a sanctuary, brimming with sacred music.

It seems as if everyone with the slightest inkling of faith lets it sparkle this month. Society, for one season, acknowledges Him.  Churches fill as our country embraces its founding faith.

Bells are ringing in front of stores.  Jesus’ command to care for the poor is obeyed again and again.  Hallelujah!  God as Baby is here to wrap us in His blanket of innocence.  We delight in Him and in all children, plotting sweet surprises for our own, while remembering to provide for the orphans and the needy.

When the outdoors becomes inhospitable, people become warmer.  Is it because we’re bundled up, these bodies all covered in sweaters and coats, that we are able to see each other as souls?  Our physical insecurities buried beneath the bulk of layers, we are free of the burden of self consciousness, free to focus on the needs of others.

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Nature is sleeping.  It is too cold to spend much time outside, so with fewer distractions, we gather with our loved ones around the candle, the firelight.  We come back to what is most important.  During the remainder of the year, we try to bear the “cold” alone.  We must be separated by necessities like earning a living.  But, at Christmas, burdens are lighter.  We carry them together, with the Light of Jesus on our faces.

At Christmas, I grasp why Paul urges us to speak to each other with spiritual songs.  When I listen to or sing a Christmas carol, my gaze becomes more appreciative.  My house takes on a glow.  The bleak yard, dotted with stray toys, somehow delights my eyes.  I get a lump in my throat just looking at my family and friends.  With Jesus in the forefront of my mind, everything is as it should be.

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Merry Christmas! Jesus is proclaimed.  So many tongues are breathing His warmth into the freezing air.  How close He feels!  Let us savor the coziness of a world that for one month believes a little harder.  Is it any wonder that miracles seem so much more prevalent at Christmas?

Lord, thank you for Christmas, when You–the God of the universe, Who holds us in the palm of Your hand—are here, a precious Baby for us to hold.

P.S.  My collection of Christmas “pennies” is growing.  In the comments box, I’d love to read about the “pennies” (gifts that cost very little money or nothing at all) you’re finding this season.  Why “pennies”?  Please read this post.

More “Pennies” for Christmas:

* Tiny yellow leaves falling around children at the park–in my friend’s words, “like poetry”

*  The welcome heat of sunshine on my face, the day before sleet is predicted

*  Jumping on the trampoline with Little One, his laughter spilling out, warm like the day

*  A dear friend giving me the first and last bud (until spring) of the pink rose she rooted

*  Watching The Sound of Music with my older son

*  The video my aunt sent of her Christmas decorations on her mantel, above a crackling fire

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*  A friend’s prayers for my husband’s safety on treacherous roads

*  Waking up to a world slipcovered in ice, promising a respite from school and work

*  Pumpkin spice muffins, hot from the oven

*  A fire in our fireplace, filling the indoors with glowing warmth, while out the windows, the world is frozen white

*  A surprise visit from neighbors, who slip-slided across the alley, when cabin fever was about to set in

*  A hat and little mittens loaned to Little One for our sledding excursion, transforming him into a cozy lamb

*  The joy of sharing our sleds with neighborhood children

*  A neighbor, upon hearing me joke that I was getting frostbite at the top of the sledding hill, turned the heat on in his car, and motioned for me to go sit in it.

*  Hubby repairing the air mattress so our son and his friend could have a sleepover/campout in front of the Christmas tree

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*  Little One lying on Hubby’s chest, watching the train circle our tree, as I attempt to play Christmas carols on the piano

*  Hubby (about the above “penny”):  “Thank you for giving me a little bit of Christmas.”

*  Gramps, hours and hours away, but so close as the boys listen to the Christmas books he recorded for them

*  Dinner and a Christmas movie shared in the home of friends

Some presents don’t sparkle.  Baby Jesus’ light was covered, swaddled.  Pick up the tarnished pennies too. ♥

*  My husband’s and my annual Christmas getaway had to be canceled due to icy road conditions, but while being in such close quarters here at the house, I’ve been given a glimpse into what it is like to be the man I love.