Christmas retail—a spiritual perspective

Originally appeared on

The hustle and bustle of the mall was in full swing for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations as I walked to the clothing store where I worked. I envied the people I saw sitting on a bench or laughing with a friend. I wanted to relax and have fun, too. I dreaded going to a busy store where I would be on my feet for hours with a fake smile plastered on my face. I had been a seasonal worker for the same retail store for about a year, and I deeply disliked the work. If I wasn’t bored, I felt overworked. Each day, I pretended to care about overpriced merchandise, served unappreciative (and sometimes rude) customers, and felt embarrassed when I couldn’t complete a transaction without help from a manager. I would mentally count down the hours until I could go home as soon as I arrived at work. Then, one day, as that familiar feeling of dread swept over me, I decided enough was enough! It was time to change my perspective and turn to God.

I gleaned inspiration from a Bible citation I had heard in both Sunday School and church: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). This quote reminded me that God never created anything bad; God only created good things, so my job had to be a good thing. I affirmed that God always wanted me to be happy. One concept I remember discussing in Sunday School was that God was our divine Parent—our Father-Mother God. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, wrote a spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer in Science and Health. She interpreted “Our Father which art in Heaven” as “Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious” ( p. 16). To me, that means God is complete with feminine tenderness and masculine strength, which brings peace because He provides us with unconditional and constant care. I thought about my parents and how they always wanted me to be happy. If I had a divine Parent, I knew I could trust that my Father-Mother provided joy for me at every moment.

As I prayed to see God’s goodness around me, I thought back to a Disneyland trip I had taken several years ago. I remembered that I had felt my happiest on that vacation. However, I realized that I was happy not just because I was at Disneyland, but because I felt protected, energized, loved, and at peace. These spiritual qualities that came to me in such vivid form at Disneyland were permanent no matter what the human situation seemed to suggest. I knew that every situation was an opportunity from God to be happy. This meant that I could look forward to my job at the retail store as much as I would look forward to a trip to Disneyland!

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