Wednesday was the downtown Christmas Walk here in our little corner of the world.
I worked the register and only occasionally had the opportunity to look up at the sea of bodies filing around the displays on the other side of the counter.
And I was not one bit resentful to be working instead of shopping.
Because as Kim and I maneuvered around each other in the small space we have to do our thing…it was far more appealing than being pressed in to the masses of coats and bags and people out there.
Crowds are not my thing.
Large groups of people packed into the same place ramps up my claustrophobia and even thinking about it is causing me to say ….
“Just breathe deeply Laura….you can do this”
I remember one particular event back in our Jr High Show Choir days.
As the final award ceremony finished, the large crowd exited multiple doors into the narrow hallways of the school.
I found myself pressed against a locked classroom door wedged between rows of lockers; as I looked helplessy out on a gridlock of parents pushing their way in all directions.
Fighting panic I glanced at the person squeezed next to me and met the wild eyes of a fellow claustrophobe.
I discovered the last thing someone who fears suffocation in a crowd needs is a kindred spirit.
And I have been thinking of that as I have become an observer and not a participant in the normal activities of Christmas craziness this year.
Sidelined from much of the usual preparations has made me realize the importance of those who truly know what the celebration of this season is about keeping calm as we carry on.
So many in the crowds out there are seeking the Christ of Christmas and they don’t even know it.
They are filled with fear and dread over the state of this country, the world, their own family, their own souls.
And if we, who know Christ, are panicking over shopping lists and menus and a calendar that has spiraled out of control…when they look at us…they will just see their own fears magnified instead of the Prince of Peace.
So everyone take a deep breath…put down your lists and your phones…and look into the eyes of someone today.
Speak words of hope and life and promise…or as God puts it…
“Preach the Word”
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
preach the word [as an official messenger];
be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome];
correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior],
warn [those who sin],
exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable].
But as for you, be clear-headed in every situation [stay calm and cool and steady], endure every hardship [without flinching], do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [the duties of] your ministry.
2 Timothy 4: 1-5 AMP