A Sweet Shortcut

Holiday shopping traffic is one of my least favorite parts of Christmas. I am a sappy, sentimental, and wildly enthusiastic fan of the holidays most of the time, but I lose all sight of the “reason for the season” when I’m stuck behind thirty cars in line to enter an already-full shopping mall parking lot. No, not even a new, tear-jerking Hallmark Christmas movie starring a B-list actress can change how I feel about the crowds. Waiting in line just stinks.

As I ventured out a few days ago, a week before Christmas, I spent the obligatory minutes of wasted time in parking lots inching from store to store and parking space to parking space within the same large mall area. After a few hours of errands, I steeled myself and prepared to join the fray once more so I could leave the mall and jump on the highway toward home.

Suddenly, while waiting with the rest of the world at an impossibly long red light, the guy in front of me turned right. That part of the road was new; in the direction he’d gone, the road had clearly just been built, and nobody but him was driving on it.

All of the sudden something in me said, “GO RIGHT.” I didn’t question it. I threw on my blinker, left everyone else at the light, and followed my friend, to the right, down a brand new road to a mystery destination.

Two minutes later, that brand new road spit me out onto the highway.


I did a happy dance in my car — I had to fight the urge to call my husband; I just wanted to tell someone what had happened! Turning right on a whim had shaved at least twenty minutes off my commute, and had saved me from my least favorite thing: waiting in line with all the other last-minute holiday shoppers.

I’m not much of a believer in luck, but I do believe that if you’re in tune with God and you believe He loves you, you will notice His “sweet shortcuts.” To me, God is that voice that says “GO RIGHT” at the stop light when everyone else is going left. And it’s all because He has a little gift of love to give: a sweet shortcut for His silly, stressed, traffic-loathing child.

One of my favorite quotations is from author Kurt Vonnegut, in A Man Without A Country:

“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and to exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”


I’ll bet if you look closely you can also see little gifts and moments in your everyday life that make you happy – little gestures from God that make you think, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

My hope for you is that you notice the gifts, and that you feel loved and happy as a result. I sure do.

Merry Christmas!

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