Sober Is Not Always Somber

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Today I cried about the dumbest thing. I mean I actually wept over something so trivial that it makes me ashamed to even think about it. People I know are spending the night in hospital rooms beside the beds of loved ones who may not recover. Someone I know has recently found out her husband has been unfaithful. Someone I know is spending Christmas alone for the first time since she lost her husband in recent weeks. Several people I know have attended funerals of loved ones in the past few days. And someone I know has just found out that his young son is sexually active with multiple partners. It’s the observance of pain all around us that makes us soberly think about the things that make us cry.

Sober thinking is commanded in so many New Testament passages. It’s an elder qualification in I Timothy three. It’s something that older women are told to teach younger women to do in Titus two. Young men are to be sober (Titus 2:6) and all of us should be sober when we think about the way the devil operates (I Peter 5:8). Sometimes we define sober thinking as the mindset that makes us somber, grave and even a little sad. In reality sober thinking is realistic thinking. It’s really being spiritually reflective enough to consider matters the way they really are…without sugarcoating the bad or downplaying the obvious blessings. So while sober thinking might often make us sad (when we see sin and sorrow), sober thinking should also make us rejoice in the Lord and His abundant blessings in our lives. It should sometimes make us stop laughing at iniquity. It should sometimes make us stop crying about nothing. It should tie our emotions to God. Sobriety includes exuberance, laughter, weeping and indignation–all about the right things.

What makes God happy? What makes God cry? Now ponder that and you will be thinking soberly.

Now, here’s something to think about. Enjoy a couple of the best entries in the Christmas contest. Winner will be announced on Christmas Eve.

Popeye: The Present Pilfering Pit bull

Growing up, Christmas present Rule #1 was, “No Peeking!”

To ease this curiosity conundrum, my sister would employ various gift-inspection techniques to discover the identity of the hidden joy.

Wise to the ways of her eldest daughter, Mom began to double wrap the presents after finding one ripped open, only to have the offense recommitted the next day. The final straw fell when Mom discovered the “Christmas carnage” the following day; all the presents had been opened.

Positive it was an act of rebellion, Mom confronted my sister who pled her innocence. With tears falling and voices rising, Popeye, the family dog, sauntered through the room. Posted to his posterior was a shiny bow that once perched on a present.
After following him to his bed, we discovered the rest of the paper parcels. Popeye, it seemed, had developed a taste for Christmas bows.
-Sharon Simmons, Glencoe, AL
The holiday season of 2008 started with grief and pain. You see, on June 12, our son, Jesse, was born. Two days later, our world came crashing down when he went to be with God. I wanted to escape that Christmas. I wanted my son to be in my arms so badly.
On December 12, when Jesse would have been six months old, we found out we were expecting again. Christmas came, and it was very bittersweet. I am glad we were with our family. They needed us, and we needed them, too. It was our hardest Christmas ever, but God brought some light to our darkness. I thank God everyday for the best Christmas present ever- our healthy little girl, Lorelai.

Anna Maxwell, Eva, AL

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