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Christmas Countdown 2021 Day 14 <3

Yesterday I shared about my legacy of part time jobs through the years. Even when I wasn’t looking for a job, I would routinely scan the help wanted ads back in the day. Any sign posted that someone is hiring, I invariably check the qualifications and hours…just in case…

And so it was one year in mid-fall and I was doing a little shopping at the mall that I saw a sign posted in our nicest department story stating they were looking for people to work in the Christmas gift wrap area. 

Before I even realized what I was doing, I found myself seated across the desk from the director of personnel, apologizing for the fact that I realized they had a strict dress code and I was wearing jeans; but I would love to wrap presents. 

My enthusiasm was boundless as I could not believe they would actually pay you to do something that is not only an actual area of my gifting (pun intended…)but also something I thoroughly enjoy.

I was hired on the spot. 

Imagine the surprise at the dinner table that evening when I announced that I would be working in gift wrap at Von Maur for the holidays.

My interviewer had told me I could just sign up for whatever hours I wanted so I knew I could fit it around kids sports and concerts and my other job on the sensory panel…because you know…only two mornings a week. My family had no doubt I could handle it…spinning many plates is my forte.

John was thrilled to tell his friends his mother had become a professional rapper…okay…wrapper.

And to this day he will at times remind me of this when I attempt to sound hip or whatever the term for that is now. 

I loved the job.

Absolutely loved it. 

I loved wrapping gifts with that wonderfully thick paper and making sure the ends were nice and straight. I loved filling up a bag of beautifully wrapped presents and handing it to a happy customer. 

I would pray over the presents as I wrapped them. Seriously, I did. I thought about the giver and the recipient and the trees these gifts would be under and I couldn’t help but pray as I worked. 

I didn’t love when people walked up to the counter when I was working the check in window and said, “Hi Laura!”

Because nine times out of ten I couldn’t remember their names which is kind of essential when you are taking down information at a gift wrap counter. Wrapping and praying I can handle, remembering names…not so much.

But one face I knew quite well. 

She came a lot of the days I worked and would smilingly hand me a receipt for a coffee at the shop just outside our store entrance so I could have a nice hot beverage on my break or when I was ready to go home. 

My friend Leslie…who some will know is Ma Lamb…lived a couple of blocks away and would trek over and purchase a voucher for a coffee because that’s just how she is. 

One day she brought a box that needed to be wrapped, and of course I did know her name, which was great … so I took her paper choice and wrapped her gift according to her specifications. 

When she came back, I handed her the bag with her gift in it, all prayed over. 

And she handed me her half of the order stub and the gift bag, too. 

I handed her the gift bag again and she laughed and said, it’s for you. 

I am laughing now just picturing her sweet self, chuckling and knowing I had just wrapped my own present. 

It was this basketball ornament in honor of our John’s current sport season. 

I do love the actual ornament…it is so realistic and every year it reminds me of a fun job and a fun friend who faithfully made the effort to remember the days I was working.

Our lives were so busy back in those days. I don’t know how we crammed it all in but…oh the memories…so sweet and so thankful for the friends who have been part of our story for so many years.

This morning before I came in to my desk to clean up and post this, I was reading Eugene Peterson’s commentary at the end of 1 Thessalonians. He talked about how Paul genuinely loved the people at Thessalonica.

Peterson says that not only do we, as Christians, need to know that Jesus loves us; we need to have the assurance that fellow believers love us. That’s what Leslie did for me.

She loved me with actions my last year of wrapping.

She loved me by leaving her busy day and coming by to spend some of her own hard earned cash, buy me a coffee and remind me that people who knew me were praying for me as I prayed for strangers.

This is the Body of Christ <3

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