Sunday, November 8, 2009

Treats From Home

Scarlet . . . tangerine . . . mustard . . . a tumble of leaves like oversized confetti falling to commemorate the season's transition. The exuberant riots of color flutter and dance, flying blatantly in the face of the death the falling signals. Such incongruent joy in the midst of dying, baring, slowing, rotting.
Joy is always out of place on this decaying planet . . . that's the point. It's not from here! It is foreign and made of materials alien to our world. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I remember when my family moved from Iowa to British Columbia when I was 8 years old. We quickly found that not only did we deeply miss friends and family far away, but there were some things from our American home we couldn't get in our new home in Canada. How I missed Butterfinger and Three Musketeers! Canadian bacon was delicious, but the cure just didn't have the same flavor of Iowa bacon. Our favorite seasoning, Lawry's Seasoned Salt, looked the same, but was made with a different recipe. Lest you think it was only food we found different, let's talk about sports fans. In Canada, no matter their interest in the game, people would not scream and yell and cheer with any sustained volume or enthusiasm. They love their sports, but so reservedly! It felt a world away from the shut-the-town-down rabid passion for a football game under the lights or a deafening basketball game in a gym about to burst at the seams the way I knew it as a coach's daughter in Iowa! Now that I have moved back to the States, there are a bunch of Canadian treats I can't get here, so my Mom and Daddy always bring me my own little treasure box of things I miss when they come to visit. Turkish Delight, Eatmore and Oh! Henry are the candy bars I miss most from there. I also go crazy over Tuc Crackers and Shreddies Cereal. When I get to visit there, I love to order fries and gravy where they don't look at me like I have two heads. And don't get me started on Ozonol--it's this amazing cure-all ointment that fixes just about everything!
Treats from home.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." Ephesians 1:3 NIV
Things from There that I need here. EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING! FROM THE HEAVENLY REALMS!
Joy is most certainly one of those blessings, one of those things they only make in Heaven that we can't get here except when Someone from Home sends us a supply.
Sometimes I think we forget to open our care package.
Much of our Christian experience, can take on this sommmber, seeeeerrrrious tone, where we seem to dwell on what is tragic in this earth-life, like the exposed branches of autumn trees. But how can we stay so sorrowful over bare branches when there are bright autumn leaves all around, beautiful to look at and so much fun to play in!
JOY! Don't forget, we have JOY in our treasure box from Home!!
We KNOW life is hard, and we ARE to "bear one another's burdens," (Galatians 6:2) but that's not ALL we're allowed to do! We're supposed to "rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15) too!
"their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration." Esther 9:22 NIV
When we come to fellowship and to worship, if we're doing it right, our time together smells like Home, sounds like Home, feels like Home, glows like Home, tastes like Home. Our gathering becomes a place where He dwells and we all rejoice together out of the sheer delight of loving Him! Joy is like a treat from home--they only make it There, so it tastes all the more amazing when you get to drink it here, and Jesus just loves to bring it to us! He loves joy so much, and wanted so much to make it possible for us to have joy that "He endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2) to get it! There are times to acknowledge and share the mourning this life requires, but I don't believe that is to be the predominant theme of our Christian lives. Drink in the joy Jesus brings--you'll delight His heart if you do!!
What do you miss from other places you have lived? Have you played in the leaves lately? How do you open your care package from Home?

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