We all want that perfect gift to give away on Christmas. We all want to feel safe when we are out in a crowd. How can we combine those two wishes into one experience? By shopping at Wal-Mart of course!
As a group of eager shoppers was gathering around a crate of discounted Xboxes an unknown woman spewed pepper spray into the crowd, apparently in an effort to gain an advantage to nabbing one of the games. She remains unknown because everyone had their eyes closed after being nailed in the face with pepper spray. I wonder if the woman who used the pepper spray brought it with her or saw it on sale and then suddenly came up with the plan to use it. Whenever she came up with the idea, it may have worked.
According to police Sgt. Jose Valle, “The woman got away in the confusion, but it was not immediately clear whether she got an Xbox.” (via Huffington Post) What? Let me get this straight. A woman discharges pepper spray into a crowd of shoppers, and is able to grab an Xbox, go to the nearest cashier and pay for it? Didn’t that look weird to some people? Then again, those whose eyes were still able to see, were looking elsewhere.
It seems that during the entire melee, the store remained opened and other customers continued shopping. I tell you, these shoppers are really focused this year! I know this is an overstatement but one group of people is running around in chaos trying to wash off their faces and sooth their eyes from extreme pain while the rest of the shoppers in the area continue their frenzied shopping.
The Huffington Post also reported that this, “was the only major violence reported at a Southern California store involving Black Friday Thanksgiving holiday sales.” The only MAJOR violence reported? You mean there was other violence? Just not major violence? Good gravy. What’s going on in our department stores?
I didn’t get up early and go Black Friday shopping this year. But after reading about some of the stories from today, I think next year I will go out. But not to shop. I think I will go to Wal Mart, grab one of the chairs from the camping section, get something to eat from the food court, and simply sit back and watch the show. I’ll wear some protective gear too. Call me mad, but that could be very entertaining.
Jesus didn’t talk much about pepper spray and shopping etiquette, but he did talk about loving your neighbor, sharing your resources, and generally being a kind person. That includes not taking advantage of others, helping others in need, and I’m pretty sure that if any of the disciples brought pepper spray to fend off the crowds Jesus would have said, “whoever lives by pepper spray will die by pepper spray.” (At least he said that about the sword to his one of his companions in Matthew 26:52.)
I don’t know if Jesus would even go Christmas shopping. First of all, that’d be pretty interesting, buying gifts for other people on your birthday. Nah. He’d be too busy telling people to give away their possessions, and probably restoring the vision of those who went shopping and lost their sight. I think the rest of us could open our eyes and see the real meaning of Christmas too if we weren’t so focused on those low prices.
Ever have one of those conversations when you ask someone how they are doing and they look back at you, shrug their shoulders and say, “I’m surviving.”
We’ve all had seasons in our lives when things are tough. We’re glad just to make it through the day. We know things will get better, but for the time being we’ll get by with just surviving.
I’ve had those times. But the thing is, I don’t want to live my life “just surviving.” I don’t want to look back on my years and see a life of no substance. Because a life of survival is a life without significance. I don’t need to be a rock star, but I want my life to mean something. In order for my life to be more than it is, I have to be more than I am. And the best way to be more than I am, is to let Christ live in me. Because if I have Christ in me, I am more than the sum of my genes. I am a new creation filled with the Spirit of God himself.
Jesus wants you to be more than the flesh and blood you are. Surviving is not what God has called you to do. He has created you to live. He has created you to experience the life he has laid out for you. And just to make sure you got the message, he sent his Son to give you His very life. So that you can be more. So that you can have more.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b
Jesus doesn’t want you to survive. He wants you to have an abundant life. Are you ready to live it?
I’m a talker. I can stretch a one minute topic into an hour long subject. Call it a gift. What can I say? I enjoy a good long chat.
Sometimes I’m so good at talking, that I’m not so good at carrying on a conversation. I talk and talk and talk while some unlucky person listens and listens and listens. Pretty soon they hear me talking so much that they aren’t listening anymore. Oh they hear me, but they’re not listening.
That’s the thing with conversations. They require listening. If you’re not listening, you’re not communicating.
The other day I was having problems with my website so I called my host provider’s help line. Everything started out pretty well. The gentleman said, “Hi,” I said, “Hello.” He said, “How can I help you?” It all went downhill from there.
I tried to explain my problem but he kept cutting me off. He would interrupt me with trivial things. When he tried to say my problem back to me he had it all wrong. So I repeated my problem and he kept not listening. This went on for over 30 minutes. I wasn’t able to communicate the problem I was having because this guy wasn’t listening.
After 34 minutes (I remember looking at the timer on my phone) I started to lose it. At one point I remember raising my voice and asking him (that’s putting it nicely) to be quiet. When that didn’t work, I demanded to talk to someone else. The young man insisted on helping. So I started from square one and began to tell him my problem. For 15 more minutes this guy interrupted me and offered solutions for problems I didn’t have. I had to end the frustration. I told him I was sorry but I had to end the phone call. He was still talking when I hung up.
I believe this guy could have helped me if he was just quiet and listened.
I once had a friend tell me in college, “The good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.” He probably said that because I was talking too much. But it’s a good saying nonetheless.
How good are you at communicating? It depends on how good you are at listening.
God is a good listener. He hears every single prayer we send His way. We talk. He listens. But are you communicating with God? How often do you listen to what God is saying to you? Or do you not hear God talking to you because you’re too busy not listening? If you’re doing all the talking, there’s really no communication taking place.
Is God trying to tell you something? How will you know unless you listen?
Send God a prayer tonight. Then spend some time listening to what God is saying to you. You might be surprised.
By the way. The problem I was having? I was getting two Facebook and Twitter buttons for each new post because my html code was getting duplicated. (Or so I thought.) Turns out Weebly, the design tool I use, offers to add those buttons for you if you click this nifty little radio button they offer. Apparently, the button was clicked so I never needed to add the html code in the first place. Now, how long did that take for me to explain? Thanks for listening.