Comes back this time of year -- It happened over a decade ago.
“If you don’t leave me alone,” the woman snapped at me, “I will report you to the manager!”
My breath lodged in my throat while my soul recoiled from the slap of her angry words. A few minutes before, the woman’s coughing spasms interrupted my shopping, so, I offered her a cough drop. When she curtly refused with anger, and I mumbled an explanation: “I thought you were in distress. . .” And so she spoke sharply to me.
I stood for only a moment before quickly replacing the items I was considering, and fled the store. Silent judgment overcame compassion and I headed for the door. Silent indignation fueled my flight. “How dare she speak to me like that!” I fumed. I was vexed, offended, and resented her disdain. She treated me like I was . . . like I was some pestering vagrant!
The December night’s air smacked my flushed cheeks, shaking me lose from my gripe. That’s how I had sounded, not twenty minutes before, when I flounced myself out of the house for one last errand before Christmas: buying a gift in Christ’s name for some poor child.
Now able to breathe, I was still unable to pray whole-heartedly for that hostile woman. Our words were different, but our attitudes were too similar: “Don’t mess with me! I got all this extra work because of this lousy season.”
Peace on earth – Good will to men upon God’s favor rests.
O Lord! I whispered. You asked me to go a little further, work a bit longer, and then endure a simple insult. I don’t have to die for anyone’s selfishness; I must die to my own. And I can’t master my emotions when You give me an opportunity to sip from the cup Jesus took. (Hebrews 12:1-6)
O Lord, I am a beast! When I remember what You have promised, I am ashamed I dropped Your standards, first to my family and then to a stranger whose hurting heart ruined her poise. (Psalm 73)
Merry Christmas, to those who know not the One who can release them from the chains that stumble them. He is come!
And to the Christian troops, who are weary, bearing many insults, trials and tribulations – Merry Christmas!
God is keeping a list; whether He checks it twice, I do not know. And we don’t want anyone, even our worst enemy to be on that list! However, HE knows who’s been naughty and nice. He of whom the angels proclaimed is come and is coming again. (Matthew 25) He promises a crown to those who overcome – May we overcome our momentary afflictions, for HIS glory and enjoy the great reward He plans for us.
Love in Christ,
A PS from this year: Thank you God for our armed forces who serve so I might worship and serve you.