By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
Just a few weeks ago, Annie and I went on a weekend vacation. We traveled to Ohio and stayed in an Air-BnB. It was a good way to get away for a little while, shop in new places, and try new food.
At one restaurant, in particular, I ordered my favorite food: tacos. And let me tell you, these tacos were absolutely delicious. I savored each bite and felt that they were gone too soon. I think I could have ordered 20 more and still not been satisfied.
Little did I know, but while I was enjoying my amazing tacos, something horrible had happened.
At that time, I was wearing a lanyard around my neck, and dangling at the end was my mask. Because we are in the midst of a pandemic, I was required to wear it inside, but once we seated ourselves, I took off my mask and let it hang around my neck.
Unbeknownst to me, while I was eating, a lone square of onion, about the size of the nail on your pinky finger, took a nose dive out of my taco and landed inside of my mask. There it sat, a stinky, content little onion, lying back in the pleasant hammock of my mask for the entirety of our meal.
When we had finished and were ready to leave, I was about to pull my mask on when I noticed the pesky onion. Thinking nothing of it, I brushed it out and placed the mask over my face.
I proceeded to gag.
That tiny onion had left such a horrible smell inside of my mask that I could barely make it out to the car before tearing it from my face. Who would have thought that just a small bit of the stinkiest vegetable could leave such a stench?
I had only brought the one mask with me and we still had a few other places to go that evening. Throughout the rest of the day, I was forced to pull on my mask and hold my breath.
That night, I threw it in the wash, and the smell was removed.
The hilarity of such an incident (that could really only happen to me) reminded me of the effect that bitterness can have on our outlook.
All it takes is a small sliver of bitterness to embed itself in our hearts for the whole world to stink.
There are people in our lives who anger us–those people we don’t enjoy being around. And we horde a special mound of resentment and sharpness just for them. It only takes one such a person, it just takes a small amount of unforgiveness before all joy is sucked from your life like a vacuum.
Like Scrooge, you are left warming yourself next to the fire of your hatred while a cold, dark house creaks around you.
If we want to experience the great joy that is promised to us at Christmastime, we have to take the onion of bitterness out of our masks and give them a good wash. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to invade our hearts and cleanse it from all bitterness, opening us up, giving us the freedom to forgive and to heal.
When we can place our bitterness aside, suddenly, our lives can be utilized to bring good tidings of great joy to all we encounter.
Read more of this Advent Devotional and other Daily Pursuits at www.dailypursuits.blog