Today started out a little inauspiciously. A trip to the dentist to fix a chipped tooth (chipped on a candy cane, of all things). Happily the repair job was quick and neat, and to top it all off, the dentist's office just happened to be located a short ride from a nice little shopping area.
Although my shopping had been pretty much completed, I still had a nagging thought that there may be that one sweater out there that would complete my Christmas outfit. (For all of you men reading this, a special occasion just doesn't feel right to women without the appropriate holiday attire. And we are often not sure if we have the right outfit until we have tried several variations). So, from the dentist I hightailed it over to Lord and Taylor.
For those of you who have never been to a Lord and Taylor, it is one of those lovely stores that still caters to shoppers (for a price) and exudes good taste. It is a store in which you will find a lot of men shopping during the last days leading up to Christmas, because they know that they can't go wrong with a gift in a box bearing this store's logo... And they are willing to pay dearly for that result. I, on the other hand, troll around the sales racks and use every coupon that comes my way, hoping to find a good buy that has somehow been overlooked by other thrifty consumers.
Anyway, I did find a sweater (or two...you can never be sure which one will work) and took my purchase, and my coupons to the counter. A lovely young woman with a funky hairdo and stoic demeanor began to check out my items. She stopped for a moment and leaned forward to look at the pin on my jacket. "Oh", she said, "Keep Christ in Christmas." I said, "Yes. Sometimes we forget." She replied, "Oh, I never forget. He is the reason we celebrate Christmas." We both smiled and I felt profoundly grateful to the Knights of Columbus for their pin and the opportunity to take a moment out of a purely commercial activity to pause and remember the true meaning of this holy season. We wished each other a blessed Christmas and I went on my way.
Sometimes I think that I shouldn't wear a pin with a message, or have a magnet on my car, or that I'm being obnoxious by broadcasting my point of view. But, a couple of weeks ago I attended a talk given by Dr. Peter Kreeft, the great philosophy professor and author. He said that being a fanatic was not always a good thing, but that being a fanatic for God and for truth was always good. That stuck in my mind and I thought that he's right, let them think I'm a religious fanatic. And, then, something like my little encounter with the sales clerk at Lord and Taylor happens. If I wasn't wearing the pin, I may have thought that she was one more person for whom Christmas meant commerce and little else. And I would have been wrong.
So, here's wishing all of you a blessed Christmas. And also a heartfelt thank you to the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Daughters of America and the Catholic League and to all those who keep the true meaning of the season in the public square. May God bless all of you abundantly.