While the progressive instrumental version of "Joy to the World" blasted overhead, I observed grumbling store clerks, worn out children screaming with gusto, couples arguing, and pushy shoppers shoving. No, it was not Black Friday; this was just a typical shopping day during the holiday season. "Joy to the World" was lost in the Christmas crush. Out of desperation to bring Christ into the picture, a few years ago I started my own shopping tradition.
I don’t reserve this activity for the holidays only–it comes in handy throughout the year. While crossing the parking lot to enter the shopping establishment, I begin praying for those I’ll encounter. I ask the Lord to give me opportunity to bless them. I ask Him to allow the fragrance of Christ to permeate and be obvious to others (2 Corinthians 2:14–16). I desire for them to see Him and be directed to His reality during our brief encounters.
Please don’t get the idea that when I hit the store I’m carrying my ten pound “family Bible” and beginning every conversation with a “turn or burn” message. Far from it. I may not even have the opportunity to mention His name–but I’m always ready if He makes way for it.
No, my approach is a little more low-key. It’s a kind of “blessing game.” If you’re interested in trying it, here are a few things you can do:
- Look people in the eye and smile (sometimes they even smile back).
- Watch for ways to counter a cold atmosphere with warmth.
- Mention what a blessing it is to see a large family when you come in contact with a young mom loaded down with babies and groceries.
- Strike up a conversation with the checker to let her know she’s valuable.
- Kindly offer help to the elderly or handicapped if they appear to need assistance.
- Smile and thank those who offer or give assistance to you (smiles are worth a lot these days!).
Since I started this practice, I’ve had numerous opportunities to minister to individuals. I’ve often run into friends who I’ve not seen for some time, and as they pour out the events of their lives, I’ve held a brief moment of prayer for them or offered words of hope and encouragement.
It’s exciting for me to think about all of you True Women out there entering the stores this season, armed with the purpose of spreading the aroma of Christ as you make your purchases. I’d love to hear how you are carrying Him with you and spreading “Joy to the World” through your shopping excursions!