Let me just go ahead and admit that I would rather have my fingernails ripped of with rusty tweezers than go grocery shopping. The wrestling in the parking lot, the people parked on the fire lane clearly marked "no parking anytime", the congestion in the driveway, the crowded isles, someone pushing a buggy into your back while your trying to locate something on the shelf, it all gets to me.
But I caved in and agreed to go to the grocery store the weekend before Christmas. What on earth came over me I am unsure. As we pulled in there were four cars in the fire lane snarling traffic as they tried to manuever around them and dodge the pedestrians. Please poke my eyes out with a pencil. We manage to secure a parking spot eight miles from the front door and head for the mouth of the beast.
We enter and it begins. It is like demolition derby with shopping carts. I pity the defenseless shoppers who did not have the foresight to grab a buggy. I proceed down an isle an encounter a woman with her cart on one side of the isle and her on the other. I attempt to part the Red Sea and go between them. She quickly bolts back to the buggy to block my attempt to pass. "None shall pass!" I can hear the black night of the forest say. So I move to go by on her left. As soon as I get alongside, she turns and knocks me into a freezer case and into the floor. It's all I can do to keep my mouth shut as I get up out of the floor.
We manage to conclude our hunting and gathering experience without further incident and make a beeline for the parking lot. I check my six and the coast is clear. I slide the shifter into reverse and suddenly six cars begin backing out and four more are coming from both directions. It seems the white backup lights draws them light bugs to the bug zapper. After a tiring wrestling match, we extract ourselves from the melee and return to the safety of our home.
I take a look at the news feed on Facebook and note a status of a friend that lives 50 miles away who had also been to the grocery store. While kneeling to retrieve an item from a bottom shelf, a man hit her with a shopping cart and knocked her over and proceeded without a word.
Relieved to know it's not just me, I pause and reflect on the Christmas Rush. I purposely avoid shopping malls and big box retail strip centers because of this kind of madness. And I knew better than going to the grocery store. But how did we get here? In the name of celebrating the birth of the Savior, how did we get to the point of the selfish push and shove of competitive shopping? If it is truly the most wonderful time of the year, how do we clear our conscious of the rude and myopic behavior displayed in preparation? And why is there such a last minute rush and tackle if Target and Walmart have had Christmas items out since the day after Halloween?
It's a heart problem. And I admit my attitude has not been much better than those knocking folks out of their way. We need to refocus off the gift giving and getting and remember the best gift of all - a Savior sent to save our sorry sinful selves who are offended by someone calling us sinners.
God forgive us for making it all about us.