On my way to work every morning, I stop at a gas station/mini-mart for coffee (very similar to the photo above). Because it’s Christmas season, the holiday music playing in the background is prevalent as usual.
The holidays can be a tough time for many people for many reasons. I have also struggled with Christmas time, for reasons that I won’t go into now, so I get it. However, this year, probably due to my 12 year-old daughter’s enthusiasm (praise God), I’m enjoying it with anticipation.
Anyway, as I was preparing my coffee this loud guy starts talking to me about how he is sick of hearing Christmas music playing in the background everywhere he goes. He said that if he had to “work in this place, here all day,” he’d “go crazy.”
Now, at this point, I could have jumped on board and fueled the sentiment, because I’ve been where this guy seemed to be. However, I didn’t. I was suddenly given pause. I suddenly recognized this as an opportunity to possibly turn the interaction into something virtuous. After all, Paul encouraged the church in Ephesus…
Ephesians 4:29 (HCSB)
“No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.”
So, I asked the guy, “You don’t like Christmas?”
He was caught off guard. He was probably just looking for affirmation. But, I didn’t give him the space for that. The guy admitted that he likes Christmas and then clarified, “I’m just really sick of Christmas music. It’s playing everywhere I go. SINCE OCTOBER!!”
Again, I get it. But, I was determined to use this opportunity in some edifying way… So, I asked him if he celebrated Christmas (with the hope of fleshing out his abrasive tone). As his shoulders dropped, he then confessed, “Yes.” He then turned and walked away, to check out some snacks.
I just stood there as he left, frozen, not seeing in anyway as to how to make the situation better. Not knowing what to do, I then continued to make my coffee thinking that I had blown a chance to bring some redeeming quality to the conversation.
When I finished, I looked around for him. He was still in the mini-mart, but now in a different spot looking over some breakfast options.
Not sure if I should go over to him or not (yet, for some reason it seemed appropriate to pursue further), against all logic, I went over to him and said over his shoulder…
“Well, I actually think that most of the non-Christmas music that’s usually playing during the year, is quite offensive. This is much better.”
He immediately turned, and looked me right in the eye.
I wasn’t sure what was coming next…
He nodded his head in agreement, and said…
“Yeah, I see were you going with this… I see where you’re going.”
The look on his face was now warm and less tense.
I replied, “Have a nice day.”
He smiled approvingly.
Colossians 4:5-6 (HCSB)
“Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.”
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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