I was relaxing one afternoon this past week when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage approached me with a request. It is very difficult for me to deny her request, even though it goes against my current energy status.
“Would you,” she said so very sweetly, “go to the mall and pick up a gift that I had ordered?”
I am not sure if there is another place in the whole world that I hate worse than going to a shopping mall. If there is, I haven’t got there yet. Every time I walk into a shopping mall, I get nervous because everybody is looking at me, especially at my wallet. Even my wallet shivers when we walk through the opening door.
Just getting inside the shopping mall is a drain on my “merry” attitude. I figured before I really get started I should grab a cup of coffee and go sit down in a lounge chair.
There was a coffee shop in the mall and I got a 79 cent cup of coffee for $7.90. I guess where you put the decimal is really important. Personally, I would have enjoyed a $0.79 cup of coffee more.
I got my coffee, sat down in one of the lounge chairs, took a deep breath, a nice gentle sip of hot coffee and started to relax. Christmas music was being played in the background, which contributed to my relaxing attitude.
The mall was rather crowded, people were hurrying here and there and I thought I would just take the time and enjoy the moment.
At the merriest time of the year sitting in a place where people were buying Christmas presents, it was very disconcerting to realize there were not that many merry people in the mall. Everyone seemed to be under some kind of pressure and aggravation.
A thought began to jingle in my mind. What would it take for some people to really experience a Merry Christmas? What would make them merry?
Just because someone says, “Merry Christmas” does not mean in fact that they are experiencing anything quite near to merry.
What we really need during this particular holiday season is what I call, The Merrification of Christmas. Christmas is what it is, but there is the possibility of really having a Merry Christmas if you understand what the attitude of merry is all about.
It is not about gifts, or parties, or traveling. It is something more substantial than that. In order for me to Merrificate my life, I need something more than just the holiday spirit.
Weaving through the crowd at the mall, I picked up the item my wife sent me to pick up and headed for the parking lot. As I was going, I realized why I really did not like the mall, especially during the holiday season. Too many people are struggling with anxiety and frustration in trying to keep up with the Christmas Joneses.
I thought of what Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
The key ingredient of “Merry” is rest and only Jesus can give the rest that creates a merry spirit.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is www.jamessnyderministries.com. The church website is www.whatafellowship.com.