The other day, I was hoping to go Christmas caroling. I had planned and tried to get friends to go caroling with me. I was extremely excited to go caroling. However, those plans didn’t materialize. We ended up having a small party instead. It was probably one of the most fun things that we have done this Christmas. We went to a live nativity, made cookies, popped popcorn, played Uno, and sang carols around the tree. Watching everyone laugh as they got skipped or had to “draw two”, made my heart light. I could have been disappointed that I was NOT caroling as I hoped. I could have been inflexible and decided that if I could not do what I wanted, I would not do anything. If I had taken that option, I would have missed a wonderful night.
My mind goes back to another night over two thousand years ago when another couple had their plans rearranged. Mary and Joseph were forced to make a trip to Bethlehem. This was approximately eighty miles and even IF she had a donkey to ride on it was not an easy trip to make if you’re nine months pregnant. Yet, they make the journey and get there only to find that all the rooms in the town are taken. At that point, Mary and Joseph could have had one huge “pity party”. I can’t imagine that they were doing a “happy dance” about their circumstances; after all doesn't everyone want their child to be born in a barn? They could have lashed out because their child had to be born in a barn and other couples were not asked to have their children in a stable. Instead they seem to be content with the situation that God has put them in; they adapted the plans they can’t change and moved on.
When we see others with better
decorations, or buying better gifts, it’s easy to become disgruntled. We want our parties to be like theirs; our tree to be as good as theirs; our gifts to be better than theirs and we can get bitter when they aren’t better. As Christmas draws near, let’s open two gifts contentment and flexibility. Let’s be content with OUR celebration of Christ’s birth and where God has put us this Christmas. Maybe you, like many, have limited finances, or perhaps like Mary and Joseph, you find your plans changed by circumstances beyond your control. Be flexible,there may be plans to rearrange and not everything at Christmas turns out the way we hoped. We can choose to throw a temper tantrum about those things or we can be flexible and adapt our plans and be happy in spite of the changes. What a difference it makes when we choose contentment.