Satan goes by many names, some in the Bible as a given name or names, and some we can address him by relating to his attributes, as we do for God. Oh, make no mistake; he is in no way equal to God or even close to the exalted place where God dwells. He is called Satan, which means adversary as he is the enemy of God, the Devil, which means slanderer, and Beelzebub which comes from the false god of the Philistines, meaning lord of flies.
The Bible also refers to him with the names relating to his nature as the tempter, the wicked one, the accuser of the brethren (we are the brethren this refers to), the ruler of this world, the god of this age, the prince of the power of the air, and an angel of light.
For the purpose of this tale, I will refer to him as the joy thief. Calling him the stealer of joy might be a misuse, since he has no power of God’s elect aside from what we give him. But I deviate. It’s the Christmas season, a time to gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Christ with the giving of gifts and sharing a special meal with our loved ones and fellowshipping together.
I became aware of this spiritual con man as he was trying to steal my joy. This year begins a new season in the lives of my immediate family. My daughter is in graduate school and engaged to be married. She and her fiancé visited with us for a few days over the holiday. In the past she would have a long stretch of time off (she does have a month off of school) and would come home for a few weeks. However, this year, she also has a job she cannot leave for weeks. It is a huge blessing from God as it is in her field of study so we are all grateful for it. Also, real life in the grown up world is like this.
In the past few years she and I have had a routine for Christmas. My husband hunts, she and I craft and bake and watch Christmas movies snuggled up in my bed. This year, with its short time table did not allow for these things. So, she left for home on the Monday before Christmas (21st), stopped along the way to see a high school friend and stayed overnight. Here’s where the plan went off the rails, as plans have a way of doing. The plan was for her to leave her friend’s house early to come home. What actually happened is she stayed at her friend’s until mid to late morning; then texted to report a flat tire. After a furious round of texts between her, my husband and me it was decided I would fetch her and the car would be left until she was ready to head home.
So, by the time I fetched her and returned home it was well into the afternoon on the 22nd. We decorated the tree and watched a movie with my husband in the living room. The 23rd was packed with action too. We had lunch with my oldest daughter; grocery shopped and hosted my sister-in-law overnight. We watched a movie with her in the living room.
Christmas Eve we ate (of course!), did a smattering of baking and watched more movies with Daddy. Her fiancé came that night around 9 pm; we opened a present each as is our custom then lights out. Christmas morning we opened gifts, of which we were abundantly blessed, ate breakfast, hung out, had an early dinner, and stopped by a friend’s house. The fiancé left at six to head home, we headed home around eight, and caught one more movie (still in the living room). The next day my daughter was headed home for her job. So we packed her some leftovers to take home, and she and I traveled back to the friend’s house to pump up the tire and see her safely off. Christmas over.
I am sure from your point of view, it seems delightful and full of family and fun, and you would be right; however, the stealer of the joy took a different track as he whispered in my ear, “you didn’t get to watch a movie, just you two, curled up in the bed with popcorn.” True. “You didn’t get to do the light tour.” True. “The only one-on-one time you had was in the car playing chauffeur.” True. By this time I was feeling quite sad. I feel assured that you have seen through this charade by now. And I am happy to say that the Holy Spirit speaks loud and clear, cutting through the pathetic dialog from the father of lies.
Just as I was ready to moan and cry over what I didn’t have, He reminded me that my Christmas season was full of family and happy times, that we have all we need and most of what we want, and that, my dear friend, is all I ever need. God Bless us one and all.