Green Beans and Candy Canes
We have experienced quite an unusual Christmas here at the Winkle abode. Much to our dismay, this year would be void of sharing a Christmas feast together as a family, watching hyperactive grandkids bounce off of the walls, opening brightly wrapped presents in an overcrowded room that is jammed with shredded giftwrap, and catching up on hugs and kisses. Instead, this holiday season would find Grandpa and Grandma struggling to find their way back to good health. This year we would experience a virtual Christmas, with gifts arriving by parcel trucks and delivery personnel, opened via Facetime and Zoom rather than in person. But one small package from a grandson will live in this ole gal’s heart for many years to come, planting within me a sweet memory that will bring a smile to my face for quite a while. Allow me an opportunity to explain.
Amidst the packages arriving at our doorstep this year was a very odd one. It was approximately four inches high, cylindrical in shape, carefully wrapped, with two brightly-colored candy canes attached…one on each side…one green, one red. As we began our virtual Christmas celebration, my grandson stared in anticipation, insisting that his present to us (which he picked out all by himself) would be the first gift unwrapped. What could this odd-shaped, heavy object possibly be…and why did it slosh when you shook it? Hmmmmm. One could almost cut the tension as I carefully pulled off the candy canes and unwrapped the gift…and there it was…a can of green beans! Grandma, you and Pap Pap have been sick, and you have to eat your green beans so you will get better, ’cause green beans are good for you, so eat your green beans…and the candy canes are for you, too, but only if you eat your green beans. Needless to say, the green beans would be the centerpiece of the next meal that his grandparents would prepare.
A simple can of green beans…a small token of concern and love from a young child who understood that his grandparents had been ill and needed to get better, and green beans would most certainly do the job. How that small act of four-year-old naïve sweetness blessed his grandma’s heart! And then it struck me like a bolt of lightning. If that genuine act of concern meant so very much to me, how much more does my heavenly Father deserve the sweet manifestations of my love for Him.
As the chosen children of Israel stood on the precipice of the Promised Land, Moses once again reminded them that they were to “love the LORD thy God with all (their) heart, and with all (their) soul, and with all (their) might.” Their mighty, omnipotent God had rescued them from the grip of Egypt, loosened them from the bonds of slavery, freed them from the land of their captivity. He had provided sustenance for them as they traveled through the wilderness, protected them from their enemies, and miraculously led them on every step of the journey He deserved and expected their love, their affection, their devotion, and their allegiance.
My Savior left His heavenly home, suffered the rejection of His own, endured the cruelty of crucifixion, paid the debt of my sin with His own blood, gave me victory over death through His resurrection, and continues to intercede for me daily before the throne of grace. In response to His great love and sacrifice on my behalf, it seems only fitting that I should offer to Him some meager tokens of my love.
Perhaps I could find time in my busy day to “offer the sacrifice of praise to God,” thanking Him for those blessings that fill my day, or for the strength He willingly provides me on those difficult-to-endure days. Could I bless my Father’s heart through daily acts of simple obedience as “I delight to do (His) will,” conforming my life to the Word which His Spirit has written indelibly upon my heart? Is it possible that I could strive to put Him first in my life, loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, making my undivided allegiance to Him a gift of love before the throne of grace? Would He be pleased if I took a moment to be the conduit of His love to a struggling saint, to a wayward brother, to a lost soul?
This grandmother was so deeply touched by a small act of love from one of her grandchildren…that simple can of green beans. How much more would my Father’s heart be pleased if His child expressed the same deep devotion to Him?
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