In December of 1973, while in college, I was working part-time at a Venture Store. Venture was a big box discount store. As you can imagine, during the weeks before Christmas the store was always busy and customers were increasingly demanding. Folks were scrambling to grab the latest gadget or toy and at times the scene at Venture could best be described as frenzied. When customers discovered that the “Specially Advertised” merchandise was sold-out, they could turn downright nasty.
It was in this cacophony of ringing cash registers, blue light specials, and loud-speaker announcements that I discovered her. There she was with tears streaming down her face. It was the girl from the Health and Beauty Aids Department. I didn’t know her well but she was cute and always friendly and no one deserved to be that upset. I was certain that some jerk-ass customer had balled her out and I was ready to hunt them down and give them a piece of my mind. After all, who needed this lousy job?
When I approached her and asked what was the matter, she said, “Don’t you hear it?” Puzzled, I asked, “Hear what?” “Listen!”, she said. I did. And ever so faintly amidst the noise of weary shoppers, screaming kids, and the umpteenth Public Address announcement, I heard the strains of the Muzak version of “Silent Night”. Before I could ask her why in hell that would make her cry, she told me that she loved the song and it made her think of her Grandmother and that Christmas was their favorite time of year. She assured me that her tears were really more tears of joy than sadness. Wow! I was speechless.
And right there in that busy, crowded, awful discount store she brought Christmas to me. She gave me peace. She brought me to Bethlehem. And I was once again reminded that I have a Savior.
I will never forget that night or that girl or that beautiful moment.
Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. Mark 13:33
P.S. That girl from the Health and Beauty Aids Department stills cries whenever she hears Silent Night. And in January we will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. All is calm; all is bright!