It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I love this time of year. Trees decorated with lights and tinsel. Nativity scenes. Wreaths on the door. Stockings by the fireplace. Parties. Plays. Gift exchanges. The story of Christ's birth. All in all, it is the most wonderful time of year.
The one part that I dislike is the cinnamon. Honestly, people, give me a break! I'm allergic to cinnamon!!! The stores are so overwhelmingly fragrant this time of year that people who love the smell of cinnamon are gagging at the stench. Me? Well, I'm crying, gagging, and trying to hold my breath so I don't throw up in the middle of the store. Cinnamon candles. Cinnamon candy. Cinnamon potpourri. Cinnamon cakes and pastries. And the worst -- cinnamon brooms! I can smell those things a mile away. Our local grocery store (bless their hearts) places them ever so lovingly in front of the bathrooms. Don't they know that's the first place I'm going to go when entering a store? Good grief!!!!
So, with the season of joy comes the perfume of hardship for me. I can't go to stores. I can't go to other people's homes. I even smelled some cinnamon when we were out walking the dogs the other day. (So much for fresh air!) It's a joyful season, but it can be difficult. While there is plenty for me to enjoy, there are also a few things I must endure.
You know another thing I have to endure? Bumps in the road. Yes, just as Christmas is a time of joy, so is Christian growth. But just as Christmas doesn't come without cinnamon, Christian growth doesn't come without trials. We don't like them. We don't enjoy them. Sometimes it's even hard to endure them. But they are a part of the Christian walk. Growth and tribulation go hand in hand.
Now, I could allow my dislike of cinnamon to completely ruin my holidays. I could allow it to cause me to hate the season and everything about it. I could pout and cry and complain. Or I could enjoy the time while enduring the cinnamon.
Similarly, we can allow the bumps in the road to dishearten us, or we can enjoy our Christian growth as we endure the trials of life. The choice is ours. What will it be?