• Shawn Thornton

Not Every Christmas is Merry

Thursday - December 9th

Scripture to Read Today: 1 Corinthians 4:7-18


Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

1 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT

Crashing dishes and shattering glass echoed throughout our little house on Victory Road. It was only three days after Christmas. The overwhelming noise of various projectiles hitting the kitchen wall was crushing my spirit. It was a night I will never, ever forget—and that’s an understatement!

Unbeknownst to us at the time, my mom had a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The TBI resulted from a car accident my parents were in long before they were married that left my mother unconscious at age fourteen for three whole months. I share the entire story of how God used my mom’s TBI in a mighty way during my formative years in my memoir, All But Normal: Life on Victory Road.

What broke my heart that night was that the noise, chaos, and fighting just never stopped. I imagined my friends enjoying their Christmas gifts in the safety and quiet of their homes. I imagined them watching holiday specials gathered around the television with their parents. I imagined and asked myself, “What would it be like to be anywhere, but here?” But that night, I could only imagine.

As a fourteen-year-old kid, I was crushed when my world was interrupted by circumstances out of my control. My mom couldn’t help what was happening. She tried. She knew she didn’t want to do what she was doing. I couldn’t help but ask the question, “Why?”

Why does God let some families have peace and calm at Christmas but allow chaos for others?

I learned a valuable lesson that night curled up in a ball, lying in my bed, tears streaming down my cheeks, holding my little dog Lady close to my chest: this was just a moment in my life. This moment would not be the rest of my life, but God would use it to shape me and my heart for others.

The Apostle Paul taught the believers in Corinth that our current problems are small and insignificant in light of eternity. They produce for us something much bigger. They produce something that has the weight of eternal glory. Over time, I would learn how that glory would involve me being changed into the likeness of Christ as I trusted Him through the most challenging days and darkest nights. The temporary stuff I experience now shapes my testimony into something for my good and God’s glory that will last forever!

Not every Christmas is merry. Not every day is good. But, when we focus less on the temporary nature of our troubles and more on the eternal transformation God works in us, we begin to grasp just why Jesus came! We also understand that this is just a moment. Life will not always be like this.

Your worst moment will not last the rest of your life, but God will use it to shape you and your heart for others.

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