It was a cold winter’s night before Christmas.
The wind wrestled with the trees as the rain beat the ground like the little drummer boy and his drum. I was on my way from my last appointment of the day to pick up my kids for their afternoon activities. Racing the clock to get the boys to their activities on time, I decided to avoid the Christmas shopper’s traffic and take the back highway home. Little did I know that the traffic lights were out for 12 miles on the highway causing a full on traffic jam. Unfortunately, once I had chosen that path, there was no going back. I was in it.
I tried to adjust my attitude as I waited that night in the blackout. This was a great opportunity to learn something…I hoped. I turned up the Christmas tunes and prayed that God would increase my patience, which I felt slipping away as traffic remained at a standstill and the minutes slipped by.
Finally, an hour later, on a route that would normally take 15 minutes, I came to the last light before I would be home free on the highway to my house. I stopped and as I took my turn to go through the light, the blackout ended and the power turned the stop lights back on. Everyone behind me got the green light to GO!
Although I knew God didn’t turn the lights out to teach me patience…I baulked at the coincidence of timing. Oh well, I was on my way now…very late but on my way.
UNTIL…I came up upon the car in front of me. They were driving 35 in a 55. I thought to myself, “Maybe they are getting ready to turn soon.” Or “Maybe they are looking for a street address.” Or “Maybe they don’t like to drive in the rain.” The longer they were in front of me, the more annoyed I became. I was thinking things I would be embarrassed to write in this blog. Then as quickly as I thought them, felt guilty for thinking such mean and insensitive things. But as the miles racked up and my blood pressure rose my annoyance trumped my guilt.
I thought I better ask for God’s intervention before I started flashing my bright headlights at the person in front of me… or worse! “God, help me to understand why this person is driving so slow?”
Just as I uttered that prayer, I noticed that my headlights seemed to be the only light on the road. The second thing God brought to my attention was the fact that the car in front of me did not have working windshield wipers. My heart sank. No wonder the driver was driving so slowly; they couldn’t see. At that point, I gave up trying to guess why they were driving a car that wasn’t safe. God gave me compassion instead of annoyance.
Jesus came on a cold winter’s night to bring peace and joy to a broken world. He hand delivers that peace and joy through you and through me. Love, true love which brings peace and joy is anything but annoyed and judgmental. We bring peace when we seek to know and understand each other. We can bring peace to others when we are patient, kind, humble, quick to forgive and forget, giving, supportive, loyal, hopeful, encouraging, and trustworthy (1 Corinthians 13). All of which are only possible through a life lived with Jesus.
This Christmas, may the treasure of Jesus bring peace and joy to your heart on a cold winter’s night.
- Do you find yourself more easily annoyed and stressed with additional holiday preparation and parties?
- What is the first thing you sacrifice to make your home look beautiful, find the perfect gifts, and organize amazing holiday events?
- If anything, what would you like to do different today?