The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. – Buddy the Elf
Last week I experienced a week of Mondays. I don’t know if that’s a thing or not, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I experienced. It took every ounce of energy to stay focused on the task at hand. I had several unplanned situations develop, all of which demanded my immediate and complete attention.It’s a little more than ironic that on the week I write about the “spirit of the Grinch within,” circumstances come together in a perfect storm of sorts to rouse my inner Grinch. I remembered my own words of encouragement from the beginning of the week and determined that I would follow my own advice. I would not surrender my joy, and instead I would spread Christmas cheer to others. With that in mind, I decided to conduct a little social experiment based on a line from yet another Christmas movie, Elf.
As the movie goes along, Buddy the Elf often quotes a lesson he learned as he made his way through Elf School. He says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” I decided that I would put this quote to the test. With that in mind, I headed to the place in town that I believed would be most devoid of Christmas cheer, the local Walmart. Full disclosure: I am in the minority of people who love Walmart and find joy in walking around looking at all the random stuff and observing the sea of humanity that floats around looking for something and nothing all at once. As much as many would like to avoid Wally World, it is often the only option for certain goods in the small town of Seymour, Indiana. I knew the store would be full of reluctant shoppers, frustrated parents, dissatisfied children, and all sorts of Grinch-inducing situations. If ever there was a place in need of some Christmas-carol-fueled-cheer, it would be the house Sam Walton built.
I have preached on a Sunday morning wearing a bright red and green Christmas suit without experiencing even the slightest hint of embarrassment…
I entered the store and made my way to the back of the store on the grocery side. It struck me as being the most random place to begin, so naturally, that’s where I started. I have to be honest, as I prepared to embark on this little social experiment, I was feeling incredibly self-conscious. Mind you, I have preached on a Sunday morning wearing a bright red and green Christmas suit without experiencing even the slightest hint of embarrassment; but for whatever reason, I was just a little bit concerned about how people would receive my impromptu concert. So, very quietly, almost under my breath, I began to sing… “Hark! The herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King…” As I sang, my focus began to shift from what others would think of me, to the truth of the song… “Christ, by highest Heaven adored. Christ, the everlasting Lord. Late in time, behold Him come, offspring of the virgin’s womb…” By this point I’d made my way up the soda aisle, and I let it fly… “VEILED IN FLESH, THE GODHEAD SEE! HAIL, THE INCARNATE DEITY! PLEASED AS MAN WITH MEN TO DWELL, JESUS, OUR EMMANUEL!” As I approached a man, he gave me a sideways look, shrugged his shoulders, and joined in for the big finish! “HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING, GLORY TO THE NEWBORN KING!” He smiled, winked at me and head one way as I headed the other, both of us still singing.
So, the next time you find yourself feeling a little Grinchy, take a minute to sing about the joy of Christmas.
Not everyone was as receptive to my gesture of goodwill and Christmas cheer. One particularly well-dressed gentleman went so far as to call me a donkey (using a more pejorative form of the word). But, most people smiled, giggled, joined in, or ran to find family members to show them the nut singing through the dog-food aisle. All-in-all, I think Buddy the Elf was right. Singing loud for all to hear is a great way to spread Christmas cheer. I mean, I can’t speak for everyone else at Walmart that day; but me and that man in the soda aisle moved ahead with our day with a little more joy in our hearts. So, next time you find yourself feeling a little Grinchy, take a minute to sing about the joy of Christmas. There are a lot of great songs that bring us joy, but I find the ones that point to the eternal source of our joy to be the best place to start. And if you happen to run into a singing fool at Walmart, don’t leave a brother hanging!