Read: Acts 9:1-22
“And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”
Decorating a store for Christmas has always been one of my favorite tasks. There is something wonderful about arranging displays of garland and ornaments, “fluffing” artificial trees, and adorning everything with multi-colored blinking lights. I feel inspired, even worshipful as I place each nativity on the shelf. Every now and then, however, someone comes up with a unique decoration idea that may not convey the spirit of the holiday as well as one might hope.
“Are you actually hanging a Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling?” I asked. I knew my tone was a bit incredulous, but it isn’t every day that one’s manager is seen trying to strap inverted objects to the roof of a greenhouse.
“Yes,” she replied, as though hardly thinking such an answer was necessary.
I watched with interest for a moment then asked the only question I could think of, the only one that made any sense given the situation, “Why?”
“‘Cuz I feel like it,” she replied, retrieving the roll of wire which was balanced atop her ladder and beginning to secure the bottom part (and only the bottom part) of a Santa Claus to the tree.
“You know, it’s the wrong holiday for headless things,” I observed.
“I know,” she replied, grinning mischievously.
For the next hour, my manager worked quietly, eventually wiring on Santa’s head, though it still hung rather precariously from his body. “You know, that wire won’t hold and Santa’s head is going to fall off in front of some little kid and scar him for life,” I warned. “He’ll live in mortal terror of Santa Claus!”
While Santa never did lose his head, I wasn’t amiss in my belief that past experiences, especially traumatic ones, can often affect the way we respond to people or situations in the present. Scripture, however, teaches that previous experience is not always the best guide. While we should not be naïve, expecting to see change everywhere, we also shouldn’t be so set in our beliefs that we anticipate the same results in every situation. God still performs miracles, just as He did with Saul!
Challenge: Are you allowing your experiences with certain people or situations to dictate the way you react to similar circumstances in the present? If you are, commit to weighing each situation honestly and allowing room for God to work.
Today’s devotion was excerpted from “Retail Ready: 90 Devotions for Teens in the Workforce” available in print for $9.99 or on Kindle for $7.99.