We are sheep among the wolves. “Be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16). A tough and seemingly contradictory combination of character traits! And yet, Jesus tells us, his disciples, to be just that, both wise and gentle. It’s a tough and evil world out there, joyful Christmas songs, festive lights, good will and holiday greetings notwithstanding. If you don’t realize that, you’ve not been reading the news over the past months. Perhaps you’ve experienced a personal evil up close, like a mugging or an attack, or a viscious slander or emotional heartbreak. We’re called to be like Christ, wise and discerning, exhibiting righteous anger when called for (the cleansing of the temple comes to mind), yet gentle and compassionate when the situation calls for it (the woman caught in adultery, among many such Biblical examples). (John 2:13-17 and John 8:1-59). During the joys and good feelings of the holidays we tend to forget (or consciously delude ourselves) that “our adversary, the devil, constantly prowls this earth seeking those whom he would destroy.” (1 Peter 5:8). We are admonished to go about our daily walk through this world with our eyes open. Be in the moment. Be spiritually discerning and protected. (Ephesians 6:10-18) Be aware of the dangers, and yet let love lead and motivate us, and fear not because Christ, via the Holy Spirit, is with us on our journey.
(Isaiah 41:10, 1 John 4:4, Psalm 27:1, John 14:16, Matthew 28:20)