The ten-dollar coupon had grown hot in my hand. Literally. I was clutching it tightly. I was doing something I have never done: Arriving at Macy’s at seven in the morning, at the ready for the Big.Sale.
Truth is – I had only just realized Macy’s was having a Big.Sale. The coupon and the sale had been simultaneously discovered. If there’s a coupon, that means you need something, right?
I had limited time and I could feel my body growing hot with frustration. This sweater? No. That one? The blue one is pretty, I have too much black. Oh – I can’t buy that one! That’s only twelve dollars and I’m supposed to spend twenty-five in order to get the coupon. Frustration rising I picked out a sweater and began heading to the cashier. The cashier was nowhere to be found – it was after all seven in the morning…..
And right there in the aisle where glitter and sequins met designer jeans, I stopped, assaulted by the irony.
Earnestly shopping for something I didn’t need because I had a coupon. With a rueful sigh I put the sweater on the nearest rack I could find, and there it sat – a bright, blue miserable reminder among all the black, gold, and red glitter of seasonal items.
I headed toward the exit, stopping only to give the coupon away. The woman smiled at me gratefully — who doesn’t love a deal.
The sorry truth of who I was and how I was behaving felt like the 25 degree Farenheit temperature and wind that whipped my face as I stepped outside. It felt icy cold and I wanted to escape.
All for a ten-dollar coupon. Wasted time and sick in my soul, I felt all of it acutely.
It’s my own hypocrisy, my own poverty of soul that slaps me in the face like icy weather. I am so dang good at pointing out the flaws in our society, in other Christians, in America in general (for the arguably big baby that it is). But at the end of the day, the only person I can change is myself.
I think about this season – Advent, Christmas, Nativity, Holiday. The season of Advent differs profoundly from the “Holiday Season” as celebrated in the Western world. Advent brings waiting, hope, and a promise. The holiday season brings coupons, stress, frustration, and poverty of soul.
How do I continually bring myself back to Advent? It starts today with giving up a sweaty ten-dollar coupon and admitting the poverty in my soul. Tomorrow it may mean something else. But today is what I have.
What about you? Have you ever found yourself with a coupon that grew hot in your hand? How do you separate Advent and Christmas from the Holiday Season?
Picture Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/shirts-exhibition-shop-shopping-428627/