This time of year, with the Christmas holiday rapidly approaching, you'll find it difficult to find a store that isn't displaying their many wares. Blinking lights, the latest gadgets, trendy clothing--all clamoring for our attention. One display draws our eyes toward chocolate delights of every shape and size. (I have to be very careful to avoid such displays, for my willpower isn't what it used to be.) Another tempts us to sample the sweet fragrances of the many perfumes and body sprays. And, of course, most stores have displays of the variety of Christmas decorations that are guaranteed to brighten our homes for the holidays.
Years ago, when I worked retail, I was always in charge of putting together the displays. My manager was quick to recognize my creative skills, so when it was time to create a display, he pulled me from the registers and put me to work. I loved it! I was allowed to use anything in the store. In fact, the more merchandise I used, the more effective the display would be. I have fond (and somewhat comical) memories of building life-size scarecrows, ridiculous-looking snowmen, and Christmas displays that were the envy of many other stores. My goal, no matter the display, was the same--make a statement! The intention of creating such a display was to cause people to stop and pay attention, to pause in their hurried shopping and take notice of something out of the ordinary.
As I reminisced about the many displays I had created over the years (both in retail and in my nine years as a teacher), I realized that I have neglected the most important display of all--my life. I am a Christian, which means "Christ-like". I am a walking advertisement for the love, mercy and grace of God. But I can't help but wonder, what do I have on display? When people pass me, do they stop and pay attention? In this hurried world, do they notice something out of the ordinary? Is there something about my life that makes the world pause and stare in amazement? Not because of me or anything I have done, but because there's something about me they just can't figure out. Because there's an unnatural joy radiating from my smile. Because there's unconditional love portrayed by my words, actions and attitudes. Because there's a power that tugs at their hearts every time they are near me.
It's nice to have a display of Christmas lights or funky ornaments, but how much more important is it to have a daily display of the attributes and attitude of God? Just as my manager entrusted me with the vital task of creating a crowd-stopping display, my Lord has given me the same instructions. My goal with this display is the same as the ones I created years ago--to make a statement. And that statement is this: "I am not what I once was. I've been redeemed and set right in the eyes of my Heavenly Father. I am His child, and He loves me with an unconditional love. He leads me and guides me, protects me and provides for me. He's my closest Friend and my shelter from all harm. Life in Him is full of joy and peace, and there's nothing like it in all the world. Jesus is the name of my Friend and Savior. Would you like to meet Him?"
Whether we're aware or not, something is always on display in our lives. The question is, what are we showing the world?
I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. This will be my last devotion until after the holidays. Lord willing, I’ll be back at the end of next week with some new devotions. In the meantime. enjoy this time with family and friends as we celebrate the reason for the season.