I’m thinking of three people:
The first person: She’s basically depressed because her life was not what she had thought it would be. She’s had some very hard knocks, and the way she sees it, good people do suffer injustices. Many times bad people seem to prosper, like her ex-husband. She has given up on looking for happy endings. From what she has seen, there are too many situations that do not end on a good note.
The second person: He says that with every cloud there’s a silver lining. Even in the worst situation, good will come. He holds on to positive thinking and assumes that things usually work out for the best. People that are around him think that he’s too naive—-not in tune with reality. So, he’s usually not the person they would go to for advice.
The third person: She knows that life is not perfect—-that this life is not heaven and that, yes, there are situations that don’t have happy endings. But no matter what, each situation can teach her something valuable about life and about what God is trying to do for her. When a situation comes to an end, this person asks, “What did I learn from this experience?” Or, even more to the point, “What is God trying to show me here?” This person is balanced, neither the cynic nor the “eternal optimist”.
So, the question comes down to this: How do you want to go through life? Do you want to be negative about everything, or perhaps too naive? Maybe a healthy middle of the road approach is best.
This time of year always seems to highlight the problems we face, especially within our own families, and it effects how we approach the Season. We wonder: God what are you up to? Are you really there?
Maybe a good approach, or a good way to pray is to say: “Lord, help me to surrender to you and do things your way. Help me to see what you want me to see. Give me the grace to understand.”
In the Old Testament reading David had to learn that. What he thought was a noble plan, to build the Lord a house to dwell in, was not what God wanted him to do. Nathan is to remind David that all the things that have occurred in his life were brought about by God’s hand, not David’s. So David has to let go of his plan, surrender to God, and do things His way.
Do you ever wonder why Mary was chosen to be the Mother of God? God saw in her something special. And I think this “something” was her deep awareness of God’s active presence in her life. She had to have a sense of this even before the angel appeared to her. If this were not so, would Mary have been able to say yes to something she didn’t understand? But she did.
When we surrender to God and allow the Lord to lead us, our perspective on life changes. We find the grace to move away from being angry at everyone and everything all the time. We come around to finding that “middle of the road” where we can be open to the newness that comes when we allow God into our life.
There’s a great line from the readings today, “I have been with you wherever you went…” God is reminding us of this today. He’s saying, “If I have been with you this far, I will continue to walk with you and protect you in the future.” If he has brought us this far he will not abandon us now!
Try, over these days of Christmas, to ask God to help you understand what he’s trying to do for you. Let God teach you something valuable about life that will help you move forward, and not fall into the same traps again and again. Do things God’s way and be happier and holier for doing so!