Worshipping at Walmart

Glancing at my last-minute Christmas brunch grocery list, I hurry across the wet Walmart parking lot. It’s damp and cold. I wish I’d worn my coat. Making my way through the crowd of grim-faced shoppers, my thoughts scatter like marbles. I check my list again.

* Find red tablecloth

* Eggs, orange juice, chocolate milk, bacon

*Send Katie mini-cheese blintz recipe 

Taking a short-cut through pajamas aisle, I hear Christmas music.

Is it piped in through the speakers?

People move toward the center of the store as though following The Star of David.

I forget my list and follow them.

Workers stop to listen.

This music.

This beautiful music. 

It’s a little rough, but in a good way. It’s raw.

Full of passion.

And powerful.

So very powerful. 

A form of praise that can’t be contained.

Warmth spreads through me as I pass a small nativity.

Spotting the giant circle of carolers, I’m filled with unspeakable peace.

This kind of worship isn’t planned.

It’s spontaneous combustion.

Not of this world.

So much bigger than me. 

Some drop to their knees.

Wipe their eyes.

A few raise their hands.

I remember yesterday when I heard, “Christmas Cannon,” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This same wonder and awe came over me.

(Click here if you can’t see the video.)

And now, 


In the middle of a busy Walmart on Saturday before Christmas,

We sound every bit as beautiful as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Glory and honor and praise fill an ordinary building as a ragtag collection of us sing our hearts out.

(Click here if you can’t see the video.)



We worship Christ the newborn King.

 Have you had one of these moments this Christmas when God’s Gift fills your heart? Please share it with our group! 




  1. Anna Haney says:

    What a sweet story. Merry Christmas

  2. Merry Christmas, Anna. And I just saw on FB that you’re sick. 🙁 🙁 🙁 I’m so sorry. Praying you’ll be healed today.


  3. Mike says:

    Yes! Just now! Thanks Julie ~

  4. Suzette Burch Thompson says:

    We are living I n a country that wants to suppress the true meaning of Christmas. This shows that no matter how hard they try, we still remember and will spread the news. May God bless the person who started the song and all who joined in!

    • It. Was. Absolutely. Amazing! Thanks so much for “feeling” it right along with me, Suzette!!

      Merriest Christmas to you and yours~

  5. Julie Gilleand says:

    How neat, Julie. Like a special gift given you in the midst of all your “to-do’s”! I can’t think of a time when I’ve seen or experienced anything like that, but would have been in awe and mesmerized if I ever did. Thanks for sharing your story and the videos, so we could experience it with you. And that Christmas Canon, always gives me Godly shivers! Thanks for that too! You and your family have a blessed and wonderful Christmas, Julie 🙂

    • You and me both, Julie….Christmas Cannon. I’d never seen the actual video until this week. After I heard it, I had to go find it.

      Let me know if you have one of these moments…..

      So much love.

  6. Thank you for posting this. You truly are a Jewel. Turns out I needed this more than I thought. Each year at this time I’m bombarded by those who say they are Christian but freely judge those of us who celebrate the birth of Christ in this season. They refuse to listen, choosing only condemn. There is no love of God in their words. No compassion. It’s all very sad. They miss so much. The beauty of the music. The awesomeness of the voices coming together. And then to see what occurred at Walmart…well, it all brings tears…manly, macho tears, of course. May we look beyond the presents we hold in our hands to the Presence who holds us in His. Merry Christmas, my friend.

    • Just gotta say, Chuck, there’s nothing like many, macho tears! I love ’em.

    • Macho tears, of course, Chuck. And that’s exactly what happened to me–I guess mine weren’t macho, a little more refined, but still….


      I know, B.J. Macho tears. And a man who’ll admit to them! 🙂

  7. A moment this Christmas when God’s Gift fills my heart? There were many…and they started when I wrapped my arms around loved ones the first weekend in December and we celebrated Christmas eating loaded nachos and chili cheese dogs while sharing small gifts opened during halftime of the Packer football game. It continued as I shared smiles with other travelers aboard a plane that took me back to California and into the arms of my loving husband who missed me and my rescue dog who bestowed licky kisses on my face. Now, on Christmas Eve, I embrace God’s Gift of his Son into our world and thank Him for the treasure of loving loved ones both near and far. Merry Christmas!

    • Ohhhhhhhh, B.J. What beautiful words. I’m feelin’ it with you.

      Nothing like eating fun food with people we love, and to know when you get back home, there’s more love to go around.

      Miss you. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  8. marci says:

    Dearest Julie, Thank you! Thank you that during this busy busy time – you stopped, and shared this wonderful “Surely God is in this Place” experience. I have gotten on here just to see your post. And with gratitude. What a wonderful experience you had. In a Wal-Mart!

    Last Friday was my birthday- it was a treat to see that the DGP reading for that day was by you, and with such a nice inspiration.
    This is still a mixed emotional time here. Daughter is to be here later today… and I know all about those last minute lists. ..

    My father– I hold my breath when the phone rings. Will he still be with us? I keep reminding myself that on that first “Christmas” at the time Jesus was born, was hardly a time when everything went perfectly right.

    We usually have a service on Christmas Eve at the church. This time after I set everything up in the Parish Hall, and met witht he florist.. I got a call that the one who was going to come do our service, has the flu and wont be able to come. I had suggested that perhaps we could still have an Evening Prayer service. – I mean, if there can be worshiping in Wal-Mart. ….

    At Noon, I will be with friends in Spirit, as we pray this Christmas Eve, even though she is in NJ, another friend in OH, and me in ARK. God Bless you! Merry Christmas, Holy Christmas!

    • Marci, that’s it exactly! It was a “surely God is in this place” kind of moment. And at WALMART!!

      When I read the sentence about you holding your breath when the phone rings, I found myself holding my breath for you. I know about those breath-holding moments…. I’m saying a prayer right now. So powerful what you just said about when Jesus being born and everything not being perfect.

      Love your Noon prayer time!!!

      And absolutely! If worship can happen in Walmart, there’s no limit. Let me know what happens. I know it’ll be amazing.


  9. Donna Litherland says:

    BEAUTIFUL, Julie!! Brought tears and rejoicing to me too

    • Thank you, Donna. I hoped to capture everything I felt inside my heart when it happened. Almost like I was in Heaven trying to write about it.

      So much love~~~

  10. Kim says:

    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year! You are a blessing in my life.

    • Kim, thank you. Every friend is a blessing. Each of my blog readers are my friends. I’m so grateful to you~~

      Hope yesterday was beautiful for you.

  11. Patricia Martin says:

    Merry Merry Christmas, Julie! I love reading your inspirational posts! Your beautiful posts are the highlight of my week! Hope you and your loved ones have a joyous, Gluten free holiday.(((; thank you for giving us a positive Wednesday every week! I appreciate your GF advice as it gave me hope for the holidays! I am so grateful for amazon prime and being on vacation–yippee! ((((: Are you a present peaker ( I already peeked)? Will your family go to a Christmas Eve service? Have a wonderful week and a happy new year! Just think, your next post will be on the first day of the new year.():
    Merry Xmas from AZ,
    Patricia oxox

    • Patricia, I’m swallowing the lump in my throat (excuse the cliche!). And your comments–everyone’s comments–are the highlight in my week. They keep me coming back to God for help because I can’t write or love or live without Him.

      Do you mean your family is away from home right now or vacay from school?

      NO. I’m not a present peeker, but remember I’m a life-long rule-following nerd. I’d kinda like to become a present peeker though, but I’d be afraid the police would come and arrest me!!!! :-O

      We had breakfast food for Christmas (brunch) and I made the most amazing mini-cheese blintzes (GF) and some regular ones too. You just take a loaf of bread (GF for us), cut the crusts off, flatten each piece of bread with a rolling pin, and then take a block of cream cheese and mix in an egg yolk and 1 1/2 tsp of sugar. Blend this mixture together and spread on the bread. Then roll up each piece of bread and dip in melted butter and roll in sugar and cinnamon. Then cut each piece into thirds and bake at 400 x 10 minutes. It’s best if you prepare it the day before and then bake it the day you serve it. Delish!!!!!

  12. K. Richardson says:

    Oh yes, My moment was just now watching and listening. Beautiful!

    • Ohhhhh, Kim. Made my day reading this. And I keep re-watching them. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra–whew. Covers me in goose bumps! And then the glory moment at Walmart.

  13. Wow–beautiful, Julie! I’ve never had the opportunity to be part of a flash mob, but I hope I get to one day!

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