Many people associate the post office at Christmastime with incredible stress. Long lines. Grumpy, impatient people. Holding heavy packages and always forgetting some necessary label or custom form.
Will this make it for Christmas?
Did I pack it right?
Does that guy really have to talk about his entire family when there are 12 other customers behind him?
Why can’t they open another line?
Did the whole world come out today to mail everything in their houses?
(I think we can all safely say we’ve thought something like that at one point or another.)
But not in my local post office. In my small, local post office, people come from several towns over just for the main manager’s 365-days-a-year cheer.
He is never grumpy. Never unkind. He often runs that place by himself and sings, blesses, offers counsel, is patient, loves on everyone, and knows each person by name.
He has been known to sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside!” while smacking down the priority mail tape.
No matter how much we Type A customers perseverate on if we used the right tape and box, he has a patient word.
He stops what he is doing to pick up mail that fell out of someone’s P.O. Box so she doesn’t have to come back.
If an elderly customer is worried about a parcel that is arriving today, he offers a reassuring word and tells him to come back because he’ll leave the door open as long as he can before closing time.
When tensions seem to rise in the line, he cracks a joke, remembers something sweet about someone in line, or starts crooning a song playing in the background.
He’s like a hit of therapy, offering a smile and encouragement, his trademark line: “It’s all about you, Darlin'” to each and every customer.
Today, he was a one-man-band, and everyone in that place, whether or not his/her heart was tuned to the grumpy station upon walking in, was in good spirits, helping each other wrap and pack, passing parcel stickers assembly-line-style, and openly declaring how this is the best post office on the planet. (It truly is! I’ve lived in several states and in two other countries. He’s the best!)
I’ve never seen anything like this so close to the holiday mail crunch with so many stressed-out people choosing to follow his lead of love and kindness.
One man came in, and it was his first experience in our post office. He was discouraged by something and in need of cheer. I watched over 20 people show gentle-heartedness and compassion—if not directly to him, then to each other. He walked out of there with a smile on his face, as if he had just received his blessing.
And I truly believe with all my heart that:
Jesus came for this.
This is Christmas.
How can I tie Jesus to one cheerful postal attendant? Isn’t that taking things too far?
Well, Jesus came to bend down to wash feet. He offered a kind word to the orphan, the widow, the lame, the short dude in the tree, the woman about to be stoned, and the sick of body, heart, and/or mind. Nobody walked away the same after meeting Him. I’ve personally never been the same. I can’t be talking to Jesus or singing to Him and be anything but inspired, lifted up, and changed for the better.
Matthew 20:28, Jesus speaking, ESV
“…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
John 13:3-5, 12-15, Apostle John narrating, ESV
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
And I see this postal worker not just going through the motions with the daily grind or even giving it his very best. He goes way beyond slapping the stamps on and asking if there is anything “fragile, liquid, or hazardous.” He checks the pulse of every person coming through the line and doesn’t let them walk away with malaise. He checks in. He cares. He’s like a personal care nurse in U.S.P.S. standard-issue clothing.
How many of us approach our jobs this way?
Or do we count down the minutes until our people interactions are over?
Do we just check off the to-do list without enthusiasm?
How many of us consider how we can change lives, impact hearts, bring hope in the middle of whatever it is we are doing?
When we stop to acknowledge the faces we see, whether we are hanging off a garbage truck slinging trash in frigid temperatures, checking people in at a frenzied pediatrician’s office, packing groceries, wiping baby bottoms, etc., do we truly realize how much we can affect a life for good? How we can bring “better” to someone’s day?
And isn’t that incredibly worth it?
Isn’t that reflecting the Father’s heart who sent a baby Savior for His children at Christmas?
It blessed me so much to see one woman give back. As he was ringing up my package, she handed him some eggnog and a packaged treat. Everyone in that line had a story to tell about our local legend who kept an entire tiny office with a crowded line patient, conversing, content.
He passed on something that then became wildly contagious: joy and hope.
How can we do more of this in our spheres of influence, with our coworkers, clients, children, fellow grocery shoppers, bosses, spouses, strangers, or even with those we are waiting in a post office line?
This Christmas, this is what I’m thinking about, thanks to one dedicated, kindhearted man doing his job with joy in a hectic season when many hearts are hurting and nerves are raw.
What inspires you this Christmas?
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