We were hosting a guest at our kitchen table and gobbling Christmas cookies for dessert when we all heard it: a rustling in the cabinets. It was painfully obvious, and somewhat embarrassing, that we were not alone. A little mouse had invited itself to dinner.

Pointing our smart phone flashlights into the dark cabinet, we saw nothing. But later that night, I set out a few glue traps. This wasn't the first time I'd heard critters in my kitchen, so I knew just where to put them. I put one in the cabinet where the noise came from. I put another under the sink, near a spot I presumed they used to enter and exit.

The next morning, I felt victory. Two little mice were under my sink... stuck.

I bent down to remove them and felt a mix of emotions. They'd likely not survive the glue traps. I didn't want to be the one who decided it was their last day. I'd make a horrible hunter. But, I was confident in my decision because I'd protected my family's food supply, particularly the dog treats which were their obvious target. It wasn't my job to keep baby mice warm and fed, even in the spirit of the holidays.


Looking for Love

Unfortunately, the mice didn't survive. Had they decided to avoid rummaging through my cabinets for food, that may not have been the case. But, they went looking in all the wrong places. It led to their demise.

As tragic as their story is, it's a powerful a warning for us humans. We too can be like the mice and go looking for things like love, entertainment, belonging and fulfillment in all the wrong places—especially during the holidays.

There's nothing wrong with exchanging gifts or hoping to get kissed under the mistletoe. There's great joy to be found in family traditions and ugly sweater parties. But, if we think we're going to find our source of deep love and true belonging in them, we're going to be like the mice and get stuck. We may even get trapped in sky-high debt, toxic relationships and emotional pain if we go looking for love in all the wrong places.

Christmas exists because God chose to be with us. Jesus left His heavenly home to dwell in ours so we can experience true love and belonging. This is what our hearts were made for; this is what we're deep-down desiring. Our traditions can be a glimpse into God's love for us, bringing about His love, peace and comfort. But unless we tether our holiday joy to the source of ultimate, long-lasting joy, it will melt as quickly as the snowy weather. 

Everything our hearts desire can be found in Jesus. May we find ourselves basking in the true source of love and joy this Christmas. If we follow the light and God's path for our lives, we won't stuck or trapped. 

Prayer: Father, show me any traps or areas where I'm stuck looking for belonging and love in the wrong places. Help me expeirence you as the source for what my heart needs. I want to experience the true meaning of advent this year. In Jesus' name. Amen.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. -1 John 4:9 (ESV)

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you.

For more Christmas devotionals, check out Unexpected: 25 Advent Devotionals

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