You remember Ebenezer Scrooge, the famous character in Charles Dicken’s classic novel, “A Christmas Carol”, right? His most famous line about celebrating Christmas was, “Bah, Humbug!” In other words, he was so busy working and making money that he simply didn’t have time for it. Scrooge was a depressed old fellow who’d spent all of his money on himself and didn’t have anything to share with others. Consequently, the concept of Christmas was lost on him  Well, I was feeling like a bit of a Scrooge myself recently. But my bah-humbug attitude was transformed in an instant on a recent trip to the mall. Here’s how a small divine appointment changed me.

Now, I’m not much of a shopper, and I don’t particularly care for malls at any time of the year. To me, if it’s necessary to purchase something, I go to a mall. But I don’t do it for fun, particularly on weekends, and around the holiday season when they are the busiest of the year. Bah humbug, you say? Well, not quite, but almost. On a recent Sunday, my younger daughter and I ventured out to the local shopping mall after church. She needed a dress for an upcoming school event, so we were on a mission at the mall. She had homework waiting for her at home, so we weren’t out to waste our time or be distracted with the crazy-busy-shopping-mall atmosphere. The mall was decked out festively with holiday decorations everywhere, children were lined up to be greeted by Santa Claus, and it was crowded. Just the kind of thing that I normally hate. I love the sacred aspects of Christmas, but the secular, commercialized stuff just isn’t my cup of tea. Me and Ebenezer Scrooge were on the same page that day.

After a quick (but enjoyable) lunch with friends, we headed straight to one of my daughter’s favorite stores, where she quickly found a darling dress at a bargain price. Check. We had fun, and we were done in a flash. My inner efficiency-expert was pleased with our shopping prowess. Mission accomplished, we were done shopping and heading home to do some homework. Then, I thought,  Well, at least we could stop at the coffee shop for a quick cup of coffee for the drive home, to make the most of our mall outing. It was then that my bah-humbug attitude toward the over-commercialized Christmas-themed mall changed.

As I paid for our coffee, a young woman behind me ordered her drink. It was some sort of white mocha something or other.  She then began to search her purse in order to pay. She sheepishly said to the cashier, “I’m so sorry, I must have forgotten my wallet,\. I can’t buy the drink.” She continued to apologize profusely. Before I knew it, out of my mouth popped, “I’ll pay for it!” (Where did that come from? I thought to myself. This was no “plan” of mine. ) The Scrooge in me had disappeared at this God-given opportunity to do something nice for a total stranger. Over her protests, I gladly paid for her fancy-schmancy mocha drink. She was a bit taken aback and continued to protest, but I replied, “I’ve just been to church. If I can’t pay for your coffee, I’ve got a problem! If my daughters ever forget their wallet, I hope someone buys something for them.” Not much she could say to that!  My inner Scrooge was left behind at the mall, as my daughter and I delighted in our divine appointment to buy a stranger a cup of coffee.

Like Ebenezer’s change of heart in “A Christmas Carol,” there was no more bah-humbug for me! It felt great to do even a small thing to brighten someone’s day. How about you? If you need to get rid of that bah-humbug attitude, pray for a divine appointment, God will surely give you the opportunity to help someone out, maybe when you least expect it.

Janet DeCaster

Author Janet DeCaster

Janet DeCaster has served as a women’s pastor, Bible college adjunct faculty member, and global missions team member. She now serves on the Deacon Board at her local church. She holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a J.D. from Emory University School of Law, and a Certificate of Biblical Studies from ACTS International Bible College. She is licensed for ministry with RAIN Ministries. You may follow her blog at asamaritanwomanspeaks.com.

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