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One of the most enjoyable jobs I ever had before entering the ministry was when I worked for Sears as a salesman in the Men’s Department. I worked there while I was in high school, and part of the time while I was in college. And always the most memorable night of the year to be scheduled to work was on Christmas Eve. Now, people who show on Christmas Eve are desperate! They’re panic buyers. You can show people the oldest, ugliest thing you have in stock on Christmas Eve – and they’ll take it without arguing a bit. It doesn’t matter if it’s the wrong size, or the wrong color. It doesn’t matter if it’s mismatched, or if the entire sleeve is missing! People will usually take it and say, “That’s alright – I’m going to have to exchange everything after Christmas anyway! I just need something to put under the tree.” You would not believe how many people shop like that.

And if the most memorable day of the year to work is the day before Christmas – then the most dreaded day to work, hands down, is the day after Christmas. People stand in line from opening time to closing waiting to exchange and return all of those ill-advised purchases. And many of them can be awful mean and nasty about it – if you dare to ask them for so much as a receipt. You always see an amazing absence of “Joy to the World”. . . “Peace on Earth”. . . “Good Will to Men” on that day. People are impatient and irritable when they’re waiting to make their exchanges. And that’s one of the natural reflections of a Christ-less Christmas.

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