Good morning! It is a very cold sunny morning in Southwestern Kentucky. With just the puppy and me home today, I found myself starting something kin to spring cleaning in the kitchen. Not that I am ready for that, but the remaining fragments of the holidays were starting to bother me so taking time off from tax preparation, I grabbed a cookie jar. As I dumped out the three or four stale cookies, I realized with some sadness that there were no stickers inside. Does your family have little trivial traditions; fun stuff that you only know of within your inner circle?
The blue toboggan clad one is the older of my two snowman cookie jars and each time I’ve ever washed it, the inside of the top was plastered with stickers from Chiquita bananas, Dole fresh fruit, and apple varieties. It has been my son’s sneaky (truly never caught him in the act!) endeavor to place stickers from food not only inside and under the cookie jars, but on the back of can openers, the radio, toaster, and anything else he thought I’d be a while finding. He started that when he was a kid; he is now 39 years young and I still occasionally find a new sticker. And I smile. But this year, he wasn’t around enough during the holidays to think of it I suppose, and he has been busy pursuing a master’s degree. So, I felt a small trickle of melancholy squeeze into my heart as I finished washing the jar.
No less my son, but a dab less fun as we take on layers of life; the sun still shines, but
we’re wearing the blinds of toting our struggles and strife.
Moving on to the second jar, a more modern take with lime green in his scarf, I took off his head and presto! I was back in the happy lane of memory. I knew the man hadn’t forgotten the little acts of teasing his mama and had found his mischievous side still up to the antics of youth. Just little acts of acknowledging I am here, and wanting to make me smile.
How does our heavenly Father feel when I no longer show the enthusiasm that I did when first becoming a new Christian? This is the question I found in my heart as I finished up the jars. Not that He wants us to remain young disciples in our level of maturity, certainly; just as we parents would never want our children to fail to grow, mature, and put away childish things (I Corinthians 13:11). But I felt a pang of sympathy for God the Father when He sees the vacancy in our eyes that were once aglow with spreading the gospel. Then I quickly felt aligned with the satisfaction He has when we return to his plans for us. Finding the little sticker symbols of love, I could meekly identify with His pleasure as He sees us back in the excitement of where we started. I want to keep putting happy stickers on the work He has planned for me. I bet when I open my spiritual cookie jar, I find it full and running over with all kinds of goodness for me, too.
Little acts of love and kindness are never forgotten. In fact, according to God’s word through the apostle Paul’s pen, love is greater than speaking in tongues, sounding brass and cymbals. Love is better than prophesying, and all knowledge and faith. (I Corinthians 13:1-2) Followed by my daughter’s favorite passage of scripture, verses 4-7, love is explained to be patient, kind, without envy or pride; well-behaved, seeking good for others, not easily angered nor of evil thoughts; rejoicing in truth and not in sin; bears, believes, hopes and endures all things.
Go out and leave a little sticky note of kindness to make someone know they are loved today.