Friday, December 27, 2013

The Christmas Blessing

I was driving home after work listening to the Christmas carols on my radio. My mind was awash with a long list of things I needed to do before the holidays. I started to unwind as the music filled my car. I was looking forward to visiting my family and celebrating with them.
I heard a voice say, “Stop and buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.”
I looked around my car, but no one was inside. I thought, “It would take me weeks to use a gallon of milk and I just bought bread.” I shook off the voice and drove on.
I had almost forgotten the voice and had started to relax again. My mind started to scroll through things that I had to do yet.

The voice appeared again. “Buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.” It was more insistent and louder.
“Where is that voice coming from? I can’t use more milk and bread.”
Again I shook off the intrusion of the voice and continued to drive.

I was almost halfway home. The voice came again, but this time it was filled with an urgent, pleading edge to it. “Stop the car and buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.” It was a voice I could no longer ignore.
I was almost to the grocery store where I always shopped for my own groceries. I gave up and yielded to the voice. It was so urgent I couldn’t ignore it. Why, I wasn’t sure?
I parked my car and made my way to the back of the store, where the storekeepers always conveniently place the milk and bread. It makes each shopper trek through the store trying to evade the traps of sale items and enticing displays.

I was in and out in just a few minutes, using the express line. I felt foolish as I sat in my car. “What was I going to do now?”
I started the car and continued the drive home. Before long the voice returned saying, “Turn here.”
I was startled by the voice. I had the already followed its advice, I needed to see what would happen next. I made the turn.

I’d never driven in this area before. Small bungalows and cottages lined the street. Most of them were neat and orderly. As I neared the end of the street, I saw a home that was starting to deteriorate.  As I came nearer, the voice re-appeared and said, “Stop here. This is the place.”
I pulled over to the curb and shut off the engine. The cooling engine ticked off the seconds as I sat gathering my courage. Collecting the groceries, I opened the car door and strode up the uneven walkway. I climbed the steps and moved to the door. I hesitated and then knocked on the door. A flake of paint drifted to the floor of the porch.
I wasn’t sure that my rap had been heard and was about to knock again when the door opened a crack. A young woman’s face appeared. “Yes?” The door was nudged wider by a toddler at her feet. In her arms was an infant.
I held out the milk and the loaf of bread. “These are for you.”
A wide smile spread across her face and tears began to course down her cheeks. She managed to say, “I have been praying for these. There was no milk for the baby and no food in the house. Thank you so much. This is a true Christmas blessing.”

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