True Celebration

The ground was white and the air felt cool and clean. It was the eve of the holiday, and we pulled into our hotel parking lot, just missing the storm that brought the frosty blanket and some rather large glittering heaps to this little municipality. What a sight! We navigated through with a hotel cart to bring our suitcases from the truck to our room. We were able to get to a nice restaurant for dinner, and when we returned to the hotel I was thrilled to find that a cable channel was playing one of my favorite holiday movies, “The Preacher’s Wife.” Ah, such a festive setting…
That is, if it were Christmas. I neglected to say that this was July 3rd; the next day we would be celebrating Independence Day in the western part of Texas. If I remember correctly, that’s the holiday with hot dogs, waving red, white and blue flags, and fireworks, not white ground cover and a Yuletide classic. We were spending the night in a small city in New Mexico so we could get to our destination on the fourth in a timely manner. There had been quite a storm that brought hail from the size of peas to the size of golf balls, which was definitely distinguished from snow upon closer examination. It was so bad in one nearby city they actually had to bring out their plows! The trees had taken quite a beating; tattered leaves were everywhere. Because this was, after all, southwestern USA in July, some of the hail was melting fairly rapidly, and the parking lot started to look like a pond with the leaves filling in as lily pads. I’m not sure how or why someone decided to air Christmas entertainment for the July 4th holiday (Christmas in July?), but with the untimely weather, it completed what will undoubtedly be for us a very funny and memorable moment.
It is only knowledge and truth that can spare people from deception. In my case, I was fully aware that we were traveling in early July, not late December; therefore it wasn’t Christmas Eve, an easy call. But, can circumstances fool individuals? Of course they can. We watch the stock market rise and are led to believe that all is fine because we feel financially stable. We see shows on television and movies at the theater that portray everything but a man and wife in a committed marriage as normal and healthy, and we buy into the political correctness of the day. We hear about the latest, greatest beauty secret and take advantage of the proposed deal just to feel younger, prettier, more feminine, more masculine or more popular. This may not always be the case, but we can be duped into believing something that at its best is a lie, and at its worst can be destructive if we don’t carefully consider the truth and validity of a matter.
How can we possess such truth and knowledge? The Word of God contains everything we need to discern the situations around us. It is “a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” (Psalm 119:105). As we look at each circumstance we encounter through the illumination of the Word, we can and will be able to separate fact from fiction, God’s truth from the enemy’s deception. It doesn’t mean that we will never struggle with a decision or automatically be aware of dishonesty. But, as we continue to read and study the Bible and pray for wisdom, God will lead us to evaluate situations correctly, and it will become easier to see things from His point of view. Deception will give way to clarity, clarity to conviction and conviction to correct action.
Now, that’s something to celebrate, no matter the holiday. Bring out the sparklers and pass the eggnog… Happy 4th and Feliz Navidad!
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