This is my Christmas gift to you, my readers, a bit of advice someone once gave me:
“When someone in anger says something that hurts you, and you know it was said in anger, but you’re left wondering if there’s an element of truth in their words, something you need to see, ask God to bring you that truth from somewhere else, from someone whose love you trust.”
Isn’t that marvelous?
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And now a tiny tale:
In the days leading up to Christmas 2009, the song “Mary, Did You Know?” was playing somewhere and I realized, upon hearing it, that an unpleasant memory attaches to it for me. I tend to turn the volume down when it plays, and that’s a shame, because it’s a good song.
That year, we weren’t sure we were going to church on Christmas Eve until the last minute. We flew out the door at 5:48 for the 6 o’clock service. We arrived a bit flustered, but we made it.
About 2/3’s the way through the service a dear friend got up and sang….you guessed it…..”Mary, Did You Know?” I recognized the opening notes and smiled. It was like God knew I needed to hear that song sung in different circumstances than the memory I held, in a setting with no unpleasantness attached. It was like He was saying, “See? I heard you.” (And to think I’d almost missed it.)
Is there ANYTHING better about Christmas than the “God with us” part?
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:23
I encourage you this year, if someone in anger has spewed something on you and you reject their words, but wonder if there exists an element of truth underneath the anger, put the matter before God. Ask Him to bring that truth from somewhere else, from someone else, someone you know loves you and cares about you. He can bring the hardest truths to you in a way that is gentle and useful to you because His interest is in restoring you not condemning you.
We spend Christmas shoving aside the hard memories, but why not make this the year to do something about them, once and for all?
The story about the song with the unpleasant memory attached to it originally appeared in the Christmas Eve post “First Gift” (December 2009).