‘Tis the shopping season, and I’m reminded of a lovely story about a woman who was an associate pastor of a large Presbyterian church in southernCalifornia. She loved to go to Nordstroms in Bel Air, mostly to enjoy the holiday ambiance and the live Christmas music on all five floors.
She was up on the fifth floor admiring racks of exquisite designer dresses, when a woman stepped off the elevator. She was disheveled, hair matted, carrying a lumpy gym bag. Clearly, she did not belong here, would not be buying one of these multi-thousand dollar dresses.
The minister figured the security guards would come, but instead a stately woman approached the gym-bag lady and said, “May I help you, Madam?”
“Yeah! I wanna buy a dress!” the woman said.
“And just what sort of dress would you like?” the saleswoman asked.
“A party dress!” the woman answered.
“Well,” said the saleswoman, “you’re in luck. We just happen to have some of the finest party dresses in the world. Follow me.”
The saleswoman then spent more than fifteen minutes matching dresses to her skin tone and eye color, working for the perfect selection. The gym-bag lady chose three dresses, and the woman said, “Would you like to try them on?”
The minister was intrigued. She scurried into the adjoining dressing room—she had to hear what happened next. The woman tried on all three dresses with the devoted help of the saleswoman. Then abruptly she said, “I’ve changed my mind! I’m not buying a dress.” The minister held her breath, waiting for the response.
“That’s quite all right, Madam,” spoke the stately saleswoman. “But here—let me give you my card. If you change your mind, please come see me. It’s been a pleasure to serve you.”
This, for me, is an Advent story. Without speaking his name, the saleswoman became Christ. Perhaps the best way to meet the Christ whom we await in this season, is to be that Christ for someone else.