Christmas: A Time for Change
By Ken Walker-
Five years have passed since the death of Jdimytai Damour, but Black Friday continues to include reports of violent behavior across the nation.
For those who don’t recognize the name, Damour was the 6-foot-5, 270-pound private security guard who was trampled to death by a frenzied mob of shoppers at a Long Island Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving of 2008.
Among gloomy reports from last week were the shooting of a driver in suburban Chicago after he dragged a police officer trying to stop him in a department store parking lot.
In Southern California, a police officer was injured trying to break up a fight after the store manager decided to open the doors early, prompting a customer frenzy. In Virginia, two men were arrested on Thanksgiving after a violent fight over a parking space.
Looking For Good
However, my purpose isn’t to prompt more gloom. I want to suggest during the Christmas season you dwell on stories that reinforce the truth that change is possible. Change that comes from the One whose birth we celebrate in December.
I received a boost going into this month from a blog written by a woman I know rather well. Aimee Dickerson is a member of our church who led a 12-member mission team to Haiti this past summer. She prepared for that task by previously quitting her job so she could spend close to a year doing missions work around the world.
Flash back five years and it was a different story. Aimee spent time earlier that year at a treatment center in an effort to overcome self-destructive behavior. I remember that so well because she was preparing to leave town for treatment as I was on the verge of going into the hospital for heart surgery.
Delivered From Bondage
As Aimee wrote, “It was December 2008 that God healed and delivered me from 20 years of addictions and bondage in one miraculous moment.
“Funny thing looking back is that, in November, I had no idea that December was coming. I had no idea that finally and suddenly God would fix (and) change my life. God knew that exact date, moment, time, place, event. I picture Him in November cheering me one saying, ‘Hold on…don’t give up…December is coming!’”
December is coming. I relate to that statement so well because of the change in my own life that occurred many years earlier on the first day of December.
That day, I decided that I had done a spectacularly lousy job of running my life. Facing pressures that taxed my ability to cope with—let alone control them—I decided those Bible stories I learned in childhood were more than fiction. They held the kind of truth about a Savior that I needed to follow.
The thing about stories about people like Aimee and me is we remain human. We still have all the flaws and shortcomings that are part of life. But we don’t proclaim to be anything more, just that people should consider following Jesus, who is perfect.
As Aimee puts it, “What if, instead of deep despair and depression in November, instead of questioning God, what if I stopped trying to control (everything)? What if I stopped trying to make it happen?
“What if I was joyfully expectant—every day—that I was a moment closer to God making a reality in my life what He had promised to me in my heart (and) promised to me in His Word?”
She answered the question by yielding her life to Christ. Today, I can see the results as I marvel at the changes I have seen the past five years.
That is the same change available to everyone who makes such a decision. It is a reformation that will last well beyond any Black Friday bargains.