Sunday morning began quietly. After a full week of interaction with many, I was alone, spending time thinking about the blessings God has given me in this bizarre season. The Christmas tree lights were on, a cup of coffee warmed my hands.
Something was hurled at the door.
Or something hurled itself at the door.
Nervous, I ran to the front door to see if there was a problem. I turned the knob, and through the window watched a squirrel leap from our wreath.
He didn’t run far. He turned and stared at me as if I’d interrupted his plan. A small red berry was between his paws.
It wasn’t real. Nothing on our wreath is real. Fake berries, fake pine cones, fake everything.
We have an oak tree in our front yard that has been dropping acorns by the bushel-loads for weeks. I couldn’t help but wonder what possessed a squirrel to overlook real food for what wasn’t.
Maybe he was bored. Maybe the temptation of something with color was more than he could stand as he sat among his brown acorns. Same old, same old.
Imagine his disappointment when he bit into that phony berry?
I’m that squirrel. Being restricted by the constraints of this virus has kept me from being around people, and for an extrovert, that is painful. Zoom calls don’t do it for me; if I’m not standing during the call, I become easily distracted or tired.
Current circumstances have made such restrictions our cultural and global norm. Those who ignore the necessary health requirements are at risk of becoming ill or unnecessarily spreading the virus.
Like the squirrel, it’s easy to be lured by whatever will satisfy. By something that will pique our interest and move us out of a sense of disappointment, despair, or disruption and move us to a place of peace and contentment.
The problem stems from a discontent with our circumstances. Desperation is real. There is much to be concerned about; the loss of friends and loved ones, the uncertainty or loss of jobs, the sadness that comes from isolation and feeling separated from anyone who cares.
COVID doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. Even with a vaccine, no one is sure what the response to individuals will be. The only solution to such desperation is dealing individually with the heaviness of our hearts and the despair of life around us.
The only One to offer an answer to that is God Himself in the person of Jesus. He came over 2,000 years ago to give people hope in the constant hazards of life. To give Himself so that we could be offered grace and power to live in a conflicted world.
He’s not a mere panacea. He’s not an applied solution. He came to offer us a relationship that would give us what we need to live each day and guarantee us a place with Him in eternity. What the world offers isn’t real or lasting; it’s a temporary fix for a more eternal problem.
No more same old, same old.
We need to think smarter than that squirrel.