Give me a word, Lord: CANDY COATED MEMORIES

“We who have sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.” Psalm 55:14

“Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:11

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was out to death in body but made alive in Spirit.” I Peter 3:18

Today, we continue a tradition that started way, way, way back when we were in high school. Today is Christmas candy day. It is one of the best days of the year! I’m scurrying around preparing for the soon to be sugar induced coma that is apt to come after 10 or 12 hours of candy making, so today, I’d like to share an excerpt from my book, “Inspirations from the Funny Farm.” Please enjoy…and have some candy!

Way back in the dark ages when I was still in high school, my best friend Lisa’s mom invited us to her home to make Christmas candy. I know in my heart of hearts that Nanny Herndon didn’t have a clue as to what she was starting that fine December day. What began as a fun activity to occupy the time of some silly teenage girls turned into a huge annual tradition that now involves our whole families and other friends for more than 35 years!

When I say that we get together and make Christmas candy that doesn’t sound very impressive so I’m going to explain Christmas candy making day. Beginning in November, we get together and decide on a date for candy day. Then Lisa, Dana, Melissa, and I put our plan into motion. We now include sisters, aunts, cousins, children, husbands, in-laws, neighbors and friends in candy making. Everyone participating brings ingredients for candies that they intend to make. We take turns hosting candy day at our homes. I always love it when I get to host candy day on our farm. It’s probably because I’m most comfortable in my own kitchen, but also because I just love having our home full of family and friends. There is nothing quite like it.

We gather around 8:00 am, and then we just pick a recipe and get to work. Some work on recipes alone making their own sweet confections while others work together as a team. We then make candy: lots and lots of candy! We have tried to make just about everything we can think of, but some of our yearly favorites include Oreo truffles, Martha Washington’s, peanut butter truffles, Christmas crack, white trash, fudge, divinity, haystacks, and oh so much more. We set up folding tables all over the house, and by the time we are finished, which is usually close to 8:00 pm, the tables are over flowing with so much sugary sweet confections that we could probably open a candy shop or put a diabetic straight into a coma. At the end of the day, we divide up the finished products and everyone takes a portion to their own home. I then package my candies up and give them away as quickly as possible to co-workers and friends. Trust me, leaving all that sweetness laying around the house is dangerous to my waistline!

While we are making the candies, we have so much fun. Everyone just falls into sync and everything gets done without anyone having to be told what to do. We laugh, we make mistakes, and we catch up on what is going on in our lives. We share our troubles and our burdens. We lift one another up, and we praise one another. I’ve come to realize through the years that candy making day isn’t just about making five billion calories of candies. Candy making day is really about love. It is one day of the year that we gather together in the kitchen and have fun with the people that we love the most, and how fitting is it that we get together during the time of year when we celebrate the One that we most love! The older I get, the more special this tradition becomes. There were many years when I was younger that I just “showed up” for candy making. I didn’t really get into the spirit of it. Through the years, I slowly recognized how much this tradition and these people meant to me, and I wanted to put everything I had into making it the best day ever. This reminds me a lot of my Christian walk. There were many days in my youth that I just “showed up” as a Christian, but I didn’t really participate. As I’ve grown older, I have recognized the importance of my calling as a Christian, and I want to share Christ with everyone that I can and take as many people to heaven with me as I can because the day that Jesus calls us home will be the very best day ever!

Traditions are important, and candy making day is just one of many family traditions that brings joy to my life. Making Christmas candy is loads of fun, and it seems to get better with each passing year. I’m happy that my children have been able to share in these experiences with us. More importantly, I’m thankful that our children enjoy the tradition of Christmas and understand the real reason behind the season and who we are celebrating. Christmas is a time of year when we go crazy shopping, decorating, and planning. We get so busy with all the things that we feel like we have to do. Life is busy, and I get that. But Christmas isn’t about the candy making, the decorations, the presents or the bows, Christmas is really about the greatest gift that this world has ever known. On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to walk on earth, fully God and fully man. He loves us so much that He died on the cross taking on all our sins. I cannot even comprehend that kind of love. I am a sinner. I mess up every single day. Jesus knows me better than I know myself, yet He still chose to suffer and die for me. But joy comes in the morning. Three days later, He conquered death and arose from the grave. He is going to call all his kids home one day. I can’t wait to run into the arms of my precious Father! I know that day will be sweeter than the combinations of all the candy we have ever made on candy day!

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