"grieved by various trials"
1 Peter 1:6
It's officially the Christmas season. Lights are up in the neighborhoods, carols are being played in the stores, cards are being received in the mailboxes. Our to-do lists are a little longer in this season, but our hearts are lighter, as we remember daily His love for us.
But there's a cloud; maybe you can see it. As my family sat down to dinner, the Apple of my Eye said grace for all of us. Unfortunately, at the end of it, he had to include a prayer for a friend of ours who was in a car accident last week. He's going to be fine, but he's in a lot of pain. I just learned yesterday about the accident, and one of the first thoughts I had was "that's too bad it had to happen with Christmas coming." It's just one more thing to have to worry about for him and his family, as they are shopping and decorating and maybe traveling, and I hope the pain subsides soon.
Hubby also had to pray for a young man in our church who had surgery today, that will require him to have his jaw wired shut for at least the next four weeks. The surgery went well, but he's going to be eating through a straw for the next month. When I learned last week that his surgery was upcoming, I thought, "Oh, isn't that a pity it has to be so close to Christmas." On the other hand, is there ever a good time to have your jaw wired shut?
We also talked at dinner about a fire in a historic old building near our church. Maybe caused by Christmas lights, certainly made worse by the gusts of high wind we experienced all day. Such a beautiful building, such a sad thing to happen. And while no one was hurt, someone was affected by this painful thing happening right before Christmas.
The thing is, difficult times come all year long. Most of us like happy endings, and Kodak moments, and it seems unfair that anything untoward should mar what is "supposed" to be time of happy families and joyous get-togethers.
But Jesus promised us trials ~ "in the world you will have tribulation" ~ so if we are surprised by difficulties, then we've let our guard down.
There are a lot of things to focus on in the Christmas season, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear many people say they have to work hard to keep God uppermost in their minds. Prayer needs to be a bigger priority for us in times that are busy or "unusual". When you're out of your routine, God is one of the first things to go. But if you're not gonna do it for you, remember that there are people around you who are counting on you to lift them in prayer.
~ "Be kindly affectionate to one another...
fervent in spirit, serving the Lord...
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,
continuing steadfastly in prayer." ~