Next stop, Big Lots for a frame. I bring the print with me for sizing, and lay it on the counter during check out. The cashier, a woman, wearing the face of a hard life, admires the picture. We exchange smiles, and something in my heart says, give it to her, but that makes no sense. With a long line of customers behind me, I ignore the prompting and leave.
I end up hanging the print in the bathroom because of its aqueous tones. Its placement allows ample opportunities to study the composition. In the distance, the hint of a castle on a hill. In the foreground, a lush garden surrounds the pond. The focal point, a maiden, her reflection distorted in languid waters.
On Sunday, I’m reminded the cashier had auburn hair, not unlike the princess. Maybe they’d even look alike in a perfect world on a good hair day.
Monday I awake with the distinct impression that I’m supposed to give the cashier the print. I shrug it off as I make my tea. How awkward to give a stranger a gift for no reason. Then it strikes me, maybe this is how God sees the cashier, as the beautiful daughter of the high king of heaven. Isn’t this how he sees all of us through the sacrifice of Christ? Maybe I don’t have to understand why I’m giving this image to a woman I don’t even know. My part is simple obedience. Besides, what do I have to lose? Being too embarrassed to shop at Big Lots again?
I decide to wrap the print like a Christmas present from God. I dig around the closet for holiday paper, but all I have are sheets more appropriate for a child's birthday.
I’ve never done anything like this before. Heart pounding, package in hand, I venture into the store. My cashier isn’t at the register. I wander the aisles looking for her—bypassing: plastic Santa plates, pillows embroidered with Seasons Greetings, boxes of candy canes, matching soaps and lotions.
Standing next to catnip mice, I find a supervisor. “I’m looking for a woman who works here. She has reddish hair, kind of wavy. I don’t know her name, but I have something for her.”
The supervisor stares at the blue wrapping paper covered in puppies. My mission sounds suddenly ridiculous. My eyes fall on a giant tin of candied peanuts and popcorn labeled Poppycock.
I’m ready to hang the picture back in my bathroom when the supervisor points behind me, “Is this who you’re looking for?”
I turn. It’s my princess.
The supervisor disburses, and I offer my gift. “Remember me? The picture?”
I think God wants you to have this. There’s a note inside that explains. I wanted to use Christmas paper, but. . .”
She reached for the package. “Do you know what day it is?”
She stares at the present. “It’s my birthday!”
Chills go down my spine.
Only God could know: that I didn’t have any Christmas paper, that by doubting His urgings, her gift would arrive on time, that for some reason she needed a tangible sign of God’s love. Isn’t this what Jesus is? The true story miracle of God’s love?
Back in the Big Lots parking lot, I gaze at the already black winter sky, and like the shepherds, shiver at the Savior’s glory.