I was looking forward to attending the Longest Day-Blue Christmas service at my church on December 21st. As I prepared to leave and get into my car, I noticed an orange sticker on my driver’s side back window, as I tore it off I read it was a towing notice because I was parked in a handicapped spot with no hang-tag for doing so. I immediately became “enraged” because I thought to myself, everyone who lives in my building has parked here on some occasion, why me? Why did I get the sticker(?). Before I go much further, I would like to clarify that I don’t always park illegally in handicapped spots, this one in particular is often the only spot available because no one in my building has a handicap, so not that this fact makes right, but we all take turns parking there if it’s the only spot open. It surprised me that I was so angry…then I thought to myself, I can’t go to church with my heart filled with all this overwhelming rage. I took a serious look at my feelings and thought processes and the question that came to me very loud and clear was this…What are you angry about(?) and Who are you really angry with(?).
There was a part of me that wished the realtor office had been open so I could vent my frustrations about having a bright neon orange sticker placed on my window, but it was closed. I was driving to the church and all these negative thoughts filled all the corners of my mind and I felt myself wanting to feed this ugly and negative process. I was literally acting out the cartoon scene where there’s s devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. I knew in my heart this is not what I should be doing and my heart told me to turn the radio on and tune into K-LOVE, I did and my ears did not want to hear the words of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The answers to my questions were not far away, they were right at the surface and I just didn’t want them to break through and shatter this angry delusion I was feeding. Anger has a way of taking hold and tells us lies about its power and possibilities, all of these things are for the benefit of anger and leaves the person empty and alone, anger stays only long enough to cause horrific damage and then it slivers away looking for new opportunities to steal joy. I thank God for His unfailing Love, for His unconditional Love…I was able to let my anger dissolve into the nothingness from where it had come from, the answers broke through and I was angry at myself, I knew parking illegally was wrong and I took the chance of being caught. It’s not the person’s fault that placed the sticker on my car, they were just doing their job. It wasn’t personal, although it felt like it because as humans we are selfish like that. There’s no fault but my own, natural consequences of a wrongful act. I’m thankful that the office was closed, I’m thankful for radio stations like K-LOVE and I am most thankful that God loves me and He doesn’t demand perfection and forgives each of us our sins, more accurately our selfishness in excluding God from our lives. I’m also thankful for the 20 minute drive to church and for the heavy traffic. All these things might just seem random even normal activities of daily life and yet I can only see the Hands of God weaving through my life with comfort, encouragement, truth and yes even the choice to believe and be faithful to Him. I prayed in my car, sitting at a stoplight and ask God to forgive me and to take my anger because I was misguided by my emotions and found myself conflicted and in misery because I was in opposition of God, not a feeling of peace, my actions/thought were separating me from the love of God. I had to let go and surrender to God and allow the Holy Spirit to consume me before I could enter my church and experience the love of Jesus through the service along with my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. I physically took some deep breaths and exhaled, ridding myself of the poisonous air within my lungs and body. I was at peace and upon arriving at the church I was immediately greeting in the parking lot by a very dear friend, the first friend I encountered as a new member at this church over 5 years ago and that friendship has blessed me beyond imagination over the years. I felt light, my burden had been lifted and I could hardly wait to be with friends to worship God and share in a small quiet service remembering family members that are no longer able to be with us during holiday celebrations and knowing they will forever be in our hearts. Through tears and prayers we lit candles to remember, we were anointed with oil and we prayed and sang songs to God from whom all blessings flow.
“Blue Christmas, also called the Longest Night in the Western Christian tradition, is a day in the Advent season marking the longest night of the year. On this day, some churches hold a church service that honours people who have lost loved ones in that year.”
After the service I was fortunate enough to enjoy a relaxing dinner with four friends, we shared stories and we laughed. God is good, GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD!
The Birth of Jesus
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:1-20 (NIV)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 (NIV)
~Blessings and Peace~