I had a jaw dropping experience at a Christmas parade! The atmosphere was electric with screams of excitement, blaring music, Christmas lights illuminating the sky. Just under one hundred parade floats were slowly making their way through the spectators. Children were lifted onto shoulders to get a better view of the celebration of Christmas. (Insert screeching halt here!) Celebration of Christmas? Not so much. It was nearly void of any celebration of Christ’s birth. Even the traditional Santa appearance wasn’t the focus of the parade. So, when the float of Angels wearing their wings representing the meaning of Christmas came along, I was excited! Then it happened! One of the Angels tossed beads to the crowd, but someone from the crowd hurled them back at her! Caught off guard, she intently searched for the perpetrator. When her eye caught the guilty one she turned three shades of red and, if I read her lips correctly, “she was no Angel!” She nearly came off the float to retaliate!
Have you been caught off guard this season in a way that hurt you? Maybe someone shared unexpected news, something from the past was thrown in your face, or a longstanding Christmas tradition changed unexpectedly…
Whatever it is that caught you off guard did not catch God off guard. He knew what you were about to experience and He is waiting for you to turn to Him for guidance and peace. If you react impulsively without considering how God wants you to react, you may end up more like the Angel I mentioned than a representative of Christ this season.
Is that who you really want to look like? If not…
“When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.” (Proverbs 10:19-21)
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)
If the angel held her tongue and focused on being the light of Christ, how different would her reaction be? Would she forgive the one who hurt her? Would she have held onto her joy? Would she have shown grace?
Maybe you need to forgive someone. My friend, bitterness can hold you in prison of your own design and steal your joy. But, if you choose forgiveness, you can be free!
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
Let’s keep our focus on the reason for the season, Christ’s birth, where you will find hope, peace, and love.
Prayer: Lord, I can be so bitter sometimes. When ______ caught me off guard, I responded in the flesh. Forgive me and help me forgive ______. I desire peace and contentment as I work through the things that catch me off guard. In Jesus’ name. Amen