Does the number 45 mean anything to you? It should. That’s about how many days it took Israel to forget God’s deliverance from Egypt. Six and one-half weeks after the people saw God divide the Red Sea so they could walk across on dry land, six and one-half weeks after seeing the Pharaoh and thousands of his soldiers drowned by the same body of water they had safely crossed, six and one-half weeks after hearing the land of Egypt filled with the screams of fathers and mothers who had lost their firstborn children, they forgot about it. It made no difference to them that they had seen God perform a miracle every single day by leading them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It made no difference that just days before, God had provided pure drinking water from a bitter stream. All they cared about was their immediate needs. Sound familiar?

We don’t even have to go back 45 days to think of the great things God has done for us because He blesses us every day. That’s why we have no reason to murmur or complain about anything. If we can’t be happy where we are, then we won’t be happy with what we get. You should know this by now if you have children. When they tell you they can’t do without something and you give it to them, it isn’t long before they’re ready for something else. Grown-up complainers are the same way. Instead of complaining about all the things we lack, we should find satisfaction in Christ and thank Him for what we have. This is the secret to lasting happiness.

It doesn’t take 45 days to forget God’s goodness. All it takes is one person who makes a split-second choice to complain. Don’t let a murmuring spirit kill your Christmas spirit. Things may have gone wrong: the casserole might have burnt; a vase may have broken; your Christmas tree may have fallen over; you might have had a mishap at the airport; you might even have been in a car accident. We will stay happy when we’re hungry only when we choose to praise God through it all.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder