So, as you may have seen me tweet, earlier today I was in a grocery store and heard David Archuleta’s “Joy to the World” (from his Christmas From the Heart album) start playing over the store sound system.
This was nothing less than a Christmas miracle.
I almost never hear David’s songs in stores. Every time I see someone’s tweet about hearing Crush in a Home Depot or ALTNOY in a Bed, Bath & Beyond, I am consumed by raging fires of jealousy. Okay, maybe slightly glowing embers of jealousy. I’m not a monster.
So today, to shop for Christmas Day, I visited my favourite grocery store — a holiday tradition. It’s a giant place called Highland Farms that caters to Italian-Canadians (my mom’s Italian) and carries so many of my favourite things… the best cannoli, the best smoked caciocavallo cheese, Brioschi… and their produce section is to die for. Today, I even Instagrammed the beauty of its carrots, peppers, apples and neatly arranged asparagus.
You get the picture, it’s a great place.
And there honestly was something magical about being there today. It can be fierce lining up for their bakery section or olive bar at the best of times, and the meat counter, whoah, weeks of training are needed. And holidays are usually the absolute craziest time to be there. Santa would break down in tears.
But not today. First of all, it was snowing the most beautiful big fluffy snowflakes that were swirling around the trees and houses like we were all in a giant snowglobe.
Inside, in line for my cannoli, people were chatting, laughing, friendly. I saw hugs happening between staff and longtime customers.
And then I went to find some marinated artichokes.
Who knew that would be the moment that changed everything. After searching the aisles, I finally found just what I was looking for. A jar that was just the right size, at just the right price. Then I heard the opening strains of a familiar song.
No. No way. Couldn’t be.
Those tinkly notes though… like a kid plunking out the Christmas carol on a toy piano.
It must be another version of the song. Or an instrumental. Wait, no, it’s exactly like David’s.
I literally froze. My hand up on the shelf clutching the artichokes.
If a security camera had been watching me, it probably looked like I was having a stroke.
I held my breath and listened harder than I’d ever listened before. That humming we all know so well. And then “Joy to the World!” in that Voice!
It was filling up all the airspace in every aisle of that store and oh sweet cranberry sauce it sounded incredible. Joyous. Glorious. Like angels blessing us all with Christmas goodness.
I let go of the artichokes and clutched my chest.
It took every ounce of self-control not to grab the lady pushing her cart past me and scream, “Listen! You’re missing this incredible moment!”
I wanted to run around the whole store and point to the speakers and scream, “Stop squeezing the bread and just LISTEN!!!!!!”
Why was everyone just shopping like there wasn’t something incredible going on??
But then the song was over and the next song wasn’t even a Christmas song, so they weren’t just playing some random Christmas playlist. These songs were chosen by someone. That thought made me very happy. A kindred spirit was at the controls somewhere in Highland Farms store-music central.
It was very strange having this intense, out-of-body experience in a grocery store amid normal, every day, Christmas shoppers just trying to get everything on their list.
But it really happened, I wasn’t dreaming. Although it did take me a moment to come back down to earth. And to remember why I was standing in that aisle in the first place. I almost walked away without the artichokes.
The whole thing made me stop and think, why did I react so viscerally, so emotionally, when I heard that song out in the real world… not just in the cocoon of my iPod?
I’m not sure. That’s why I’m writing this all down. To try and figure it out. I do know it made me really happy. And it also makes me very happy to know that I can share this with you guys and you totally get it. Getting choked up just thinking about that.
How blessed I feel to not only have David’s music in my life, and the quirky and fun stuff he does, and the beautiful messages he shares, but to have all of you to share this adventure with.
Sending out a huge Christmas hug and much love to each and every one of you. ❤️
Along with this:
In case you were wondering, I did buy the artichokes… along with some extra items to contribute to the Food Bank bin at the front of the store… giving back in a small way, I guess. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyeux Noël, everyone!