The Christmas Piano

I was malled today. Yes malled, not mauled.

I went to the mall to shop. Well, not so much to shop as to walk around. I went early to beat the Christmas crowds, but it didn’t take long for almost everyone from three counties to join me.

I’m not a shopper by nature, so this was my first trip to the mall this season. In fact, it’s been awhile since my last visit. It surprised me to see our mall no longer had a Williams-Sonoma. Many stores I remembered were gone.

My leisurely walk turned into a fight to see which kiosk employee would be first to smear lotion on me, curl my hair, or put a hat on me. One guy grabbed my hand and started to buff my nails before I could say no. He didn’t like the fact I had a nail kit of my own, already stocked with a nail buffer.

I took refuge in one of the luxury stores. You know, the three-level stores at the farthest end of a mall. Don’t ask the name, I didn’t look. I can tell you that at one time it was a Nordstrom.

With no crowd in the store, I could linger over items I would never pay that price for—not even at Christmas.

Live Christmas music flowed from a piano on the lower floor. Not canned music pumped through a sound system, but gentle Christmas carols that encouraged me to hum along.

I hummed my way through the petite department, past the section of over embellished, yet elegant, party dresses. While strolling down the center aisle, I came to a dead stop when I realized the piano was not longer playing a carol, but an old chorus we sang at church years ago.

“Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ His son.”

Surprised to hear the old song, I stepped to the railing and peered down to the first floor. An older African American woman sat at the piano with her eyes closed, playing with such an anointing. All I could do was watch and listen.

She looked up, and in the moment our eyes met, we felt it—the bond of two sisters in Christ. We were family.

We smiled at each other. I nodded and waved my hand in thanks to her for sharing her gift.

As I continued on, she transitioned into another old chorus from years ago.

“Oh how He loves you and me.
Oh how He loves you and me.
He gave His life, what more could He give?
Oh how He loves you. Oh how He loves me.
Oh how He loves you and me.”

This precious woman will never know I was desperate for that connection, but God knew. Her smile and anointed playing became Jesus to me.

This Christmas I pose a challenge to you. Don’t be cruel, be kind. Reach out and be Jesus to someone.

That person behind you in line for coffee may look fine, but their smile may hide the fact their life has shattered around them. Be Jesus.

You may never know what one small kindness may mean to someone who is hurting. This Christmas, be His hands. Be His feet. Be Jesus to someone.

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Author: Janet Campbell

Follower of Christ, mother, wife, lover and writer of mysteries. Wrapped around the paw of a 5 lb Pomeranian named Little Ali Sunshine.

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