It's a Sunday in late November. I went to do some big box store shopping, grocery shopping really, and the parking lot is full.
I drive around a little then think, I'm an able-bodied person who could likely use the walk, take the next open spot, wherever it is. Lucky for me, it just so happened it was NOT several kilometres from the front door.
I admit, I get impatient behind people that saunter along the aisle and look at almost everything when the place is packed but I love the Christmas season and I wear a smile a mile wide. Honest!
So as I near the checkouts I see the lines growing. 'Tis the season. Some carts are full of presents to cross off lists, some have stocked up on baking supplies to do the "family recipes" for the holidays.
The self-checkouts surprisingly have the longest line.
I overhear a man saying, with sarcasm dripping in his voice, "Yeah, this is the time of year I LOVE. One hour of shopping and two hours of waiting,"
I made an effort to look at the many faces in the crowd. Was anyone else smiling?
Very few. Most exhibited a furled brow, filled with impatience.
When it was my turn to tally the bill, I said a happy "Hello!" to the cashier and asked her if everyone was in a pretty good mood today. She smiled and rolled her eyes.
I said, "I just don't get it. Christmas comes around every year. Why are people surprised? AND why so frustrated?"
She simply said it just gets worse every year.
I'm not an overly religious person, but I don't think that's what JC had in mind when He showed up. I don't think He expected His birthday to turn into some stressful, frustrating, unpleasant affair.
And so I smile.
And continue to get excited about the wonder of the season.
Mostly the innocence of children and their contagious smiles and laughter on Christmas morning.
I think about people that have much less than me, and still manage to make the best of it.
I think about the times when I felt terrible that I didn't have much money and had to make presents for family and friends, and I realize those holidays were among the best ever.
Why are people so ungrateful and impatient? Why is it so important to get the kids everything they want, even if it maxes out the credit cards, adding yet even more stress?
If I had the answer, I'd share it. Those much more philosophical and intuitive than myself have tried.
Until people wake up, I just smile.