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Just A Thought or Two . . .

December 20, 2013

During Advent Days We Wait and We Watch

The afternoon shift was dragging by one agonizing minute after another.  She had hoped for a busy Saturday.  She needed the tip money for Christmas presents and when she was busy there was no time to think about the hardships that seemed to lurk around every corner.  Why was it so difficult to get her life together?

She glanced at the clock.  The matinee across the street would be getting out soon.  Perhaps some of the families watching the Christmas movie would stop by for an early dinner.  She heard the door open.  She turned around and saw a teenage boy walk in and sit down in her biggest booth.  Great.  Even if there was a family at the movies wanting to have dinner, her biggest booth was taken.

The young man with the long hair carefully studied the menu.  She brought his water and asked if he wanted to order.  He looked at the menu and quietly asked about a menu item.  She answered, “The hamburgers are $3.50.  The fries are $1.50 extra.”  The young man carefully counted the crumpled bills and the change from his jacket pocket.  “I’d like to order just the hamburger,” he said.

Minutes later she brought the hamburger.  From behind the counter, she carefully studied her young customer.  He was certainly hungry.  She wished that he had enough money for the fries.  His thin jacket was no protection from the bone-chilling December temperatures.  In a few years, her children would be teens.  She hoped that they would have money for what they needed.

The young man folded his napkin and prepared to leave.  He walked to the register to pay his bill.  He thanked her and she watched him walk down the street in the December twilight.  She walked over to clean his dishes.  She didn’t expect a tip since he had hardly enough for his meal.  But there stacked beside his water glass were six quarters.  He could have ordered the fries but he left a tip instead.  She picked up the quarters and put them in her apron pocket.  During the rest of her shift, she fingered the quarters in her pocket.  Why had she been so quick to judge by age and appearance?  Why didn’t she have more faith?  Why did she always expect the worst but never really embraced the blessings?  She quietly prayed, “Thank you, God, for my $1.50 Christmas gift.  I’ll never forget this lesson.”

Soon we will light all four candles on our Advent wreath.  Our Advent calendar reminds us that there are precious few days left before the birthday celebration of Jesus Christ.  We are all waiting for the 25th.  However, as Christians we are called to do more than just wait.

As we sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” may we remember that “Emmanuel” means God is with us!  We cannot just wait.  We must also watch.  God is with us.  Do we notice? God continues to shower us with blessings.  Are our hearts ready to receive them?  God has lessons to teach us.  The lessons may be as simple, or as powerful as six quarters on a restaurant table.  May we all watch and wait.  God is with us.  May our hearts be ready to receive the blessings.

A blessed Christmas to you and those you love.

Please come and pray with us:

Christmas Eve Family Mass:  December 24 at 5:30.  Children are invited to come dressed as angels and shepherds to help us act out the Nativity Story.

Wednesday,  January 8, at 1:05 in All Saints Catholic Church. Hosted by Grade 6.