Christmas was only five days away. I was not yet fully immersed in the Christmas spirit. The parking lots were overcrowded and the chaos inside the stores was even worse. Even the aisles were inaccessible. I came today, but why, I asked myself.
The True Value of Things — Family Reflections
My head ached as much as my feet. I put on my list the names of people who said they didn’t want anything because I knew they would be mad at me if I didn’t buy them something.
I hurried to add some last-minute purchases to my basket and headed for the checkouts. I chose the fastest one because I anticipated having to wait at least 20 minutes.
There were two children in front of me
A 5-year-old sister and a 10-year-old boy. He was unattractive in his shabby coat and sneakers, possibly three sizes too big. His underwear was too short.
He had several crumpled bills in his dirty hands. Only his hair was matted; otherwise, his younger sister looked like him. She was wearing a pair of shiny gold women’s shoes.
The girl could be heard humming Christmas carols that echoed throughout the store. The girl carefully handed the shoes to the cashier as she approached the register, treating them like priceless treasures.
She informed them as the cashier handed them the receipt. The boy began searching through his pockets after placing the crumpled bills on the table. He ended up counting out $3.12.
He continued, “Well, I guess we’ll have to return them; we’ll come back another day to buy them.”
The young woman pouted in response and said:
-Jesus would have loved these shoes, though.
-We’ll work a little more at home before we pick them up. Don’t cry; we’ll be back.
Immediately, I gave the cashier the missing three dollars.
They had been in line for a while and it was Christmas after all. Then a voice said, “Thank you very much, sir,” and a pair of tiny arms gently wrapped around me.
I took the opportunity to ask her what she meant when she said that Jesus would love those shoes. The young girl, who had big round eyes, answered me by saying.
-My mother is sick and is going to enter heaven. My father informed us that she was going to be with Jesus before Christmas. My catechism teacher says that the streets of heaven are made of the same glittering gold as these shoes. Wouldn’t my mother look beautiful wearing those shoes and walking those streets?
As I watched a tear fall down her radiant face, my eyes flooded. She will be, of course, I replied. And I gave God a silent thanks for using these children to remind me of the true value of things.