Saturday, December 24, 2011

12 Days of Christmas day 12

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved
writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson,
Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as
each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during
this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form}
and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450
value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only
open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

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see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that
help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing
a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of
the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.


The Panhandler's Breath
By Robin Dance

He slipped in sideways between the closing elevator doors, as if he were late to
a meeting; he pressed the "5" without looking. Instead of suit and tie, though,
baggy pants and faded navy hung on his tall, slim frame...and his stealth entry
stiffened the hairs on the back of my neck.

I had noticed him a few seconds earlier, just after we had parted a sea of
clamorous teens. He was smiling, grandfatherly, standing maybe 30 feet away
where the electric shuttle picks up.

I had no idea he had been watching us, studying us, predator patiently awaiting
his next prey.

The four of us were sealed in a four- by six-foot metal tomb. Tomb--that
thought really scampered across my mind. I wondered if he had a knife in his
pocket. I wanted to protect my son. Fight or flight pumped adrenaline but there
was no where to run.

Extreme and ridiculous, these thoughts - and more - flashed through my mind.
The Stranger began speaking.

"Yessir, I see you're a family man with your wife and your son here..." and he
nodded in my and my son’s direction.

" see I'm homeless and all I've got..." and on queue, he reached into his
left pocket and pulled out two old pennies blackened with age. Two cents to his
name?! It was all too contrived, too practiced, and I didn't believe a word he
was saying.

It was then I smelled it ~ the small space lent itself to that ~ and I doubted my

His breath.

It wasn't the scent of alcohol. His eyes weren't red, his voice didn't waver; his
wizened face matched his graying hair.

His breath was morning's, zoo breath, the pet name I'd given to the scent
inhaled when kissing my children awake when they were little.

He needed to brush his teeth. I wondered how long it had been since he brushed
his teeth.

The elevator door opened and I handed him my leftover pizza as my son and I
brushed past him. My husband handed him a bill and the Stranger thanked and
God blessed him.

The elevator door closed behind us. Conflicted, I was relieved.

We got in the car and blurted first reaction--

"I didn't believe a word he said."

"That made me nervous."

"I wonder if he'll really eat the pizza."

In the quiet, we were left to our own thoughts, contemplating the right thing to
do. At the end of the day, this is what I decided: It doesn't matter whether or
not his story is true; for an old man to resort to begging, he has to be desperate.
The money my husband gave him will never be missed. It was a reminder
we've been entrusted with much and given much. Materially, yes, but more
so spiritually. Loved, chosen, forgiven, redeemed, graced, lavished--every
spiritual blessing. E v e r y.

There's a part of me that wishes I would have been brave enough to ask the
man his story, made sure he knew he was loved...and bought him a tooth

Later, it occurred to me he could have been an angel. Doesn’t that mean
generosity, kindness and hospitality is always the right response? Then it's
not about you or the stranger or the circumstance, it's about a simple, God-
glorifying response.

Had we entertained an angel unaware? We'll never know.

But it wouldn't be the first time the Breath of Heaven smelled like a zoo.

In a decades-old, scandalous affair with her husband, Robin also confesses
mad crushes on her three teens. As Southern as sugar-shocked tea, she’s a
recovering people pleaser who advocates talking to strangers. A memoirist,
Compassion International Blogger, and Maker-upper of words, Robin writes
for her own site, PENSIEVE, and also for (in)courage by DaySpring (a
subsidiary of Hallmark) and Simple Mom. She loves to get to know readers
through their blog comments and on Twitter and Pinterest.

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