SGLY: Our truest companion
As we enter the final month of a most challenging year, we are ironically left with a holiday that inspires us to submit to love – love himself.
My grandpa used to make homemade peanut butter fudge for Christmas. He would put a square of wax paper at the bottom of a circle tin and carefully fill the container, layer upon layer, each separated by wax paper, with thick cubes of fudge. He would then press the lid upon the treats as the sweet smells of vanilla and brown sugar lingered upon the rim.
Grandpa died years ago, leaving behind more than just empty holiday tins. In the sadness of missing him, I was drawn to make his famous peanut butter fudge. I followed the handwritten recipe card, hearing his voice and his laugh through his penmanship. He made the holidays brighter. He made every day better.
I made Grampa's fudge at least a dozen times since his passing, packaging it just as he did with square wax paper sheets in circle tins. Not once, despite meticulously following the recipe, has the peanut butter fudge I have made tasted as good as his. Since Grampa's absence, I have learned that it was Grampa's love that made the fudge taste so good.
In human form, Jesus revealed Himself to be with us - Immanuel, "God is with us" (Matthew 1:23). Jesus came to be with us in the flesh to save our spirits, drawing us back to God… back to Love (1 John 4:16). Ironically, it was not until Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected that the world forevermore became fully aware of His presence, His sacrifice, and His love. Jesus bore the sin of all so that we who are sinful would not eternally be separated from God. Jesus took what we deserved and gave us grace and mercy. He gave us Himself – Love.
No matter what we do, we will never be able to out-do Jesus' love for us. We can meticulously follow the recipe of Christian living, but we can never create our salvation nor save another. Only Jesus' life, death, and resurrection bridge the gap between our sinful nature and God's holiness.
Many experience mixed emotions during the holiday season, ranging from joy to sadness. Some have gifts already wrapped and labeled with a loved one's name. Due to loss of life, physical distance, or a damaged relationship, others will experience this holiday without a phone call from a parent, a kiss from their spouse, or a hug from their child. We do our best to carry on, to put the delights of the season - layer by layer - into the days of December until the lid of another year closes.
Even in our loneliness, we are not alone. Love Himself is with us, and the Holy Spirit is in us. May we not allow our emotions to call the shots but remain in His promises, trusting that our entire story is hemmed together by faith, hope, and love. Our story is ultimately a love story.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13).
This Christmas, I will make Grampa's homemade peanut butter fudge once again. I will turn on the holiday music, arrange the wax paper squares, and line up the empty tins. I will carefully fill them up, one-by-one, closing the lid upon each, labeling them with a loved one's name.
I will then enjoy a thick square of fudge with a hot cup of coffee and think about Grampa. The smell of his aftershave that filled a room well after he left. The way he would have to readjust his glasses upon the bridge of his nose because he laughed so hard. And his incessant nature (one that I inherited) to take pictures of everything and everyone. In these moments of remembering, I will feel Grampa's presence return, even if but for a moment, I will taste Grampa's famous fudge.
This holiday season, may we live into the love born from our best memories as we live into the world as bearers of faith, hope and love. As challenging as 2020 has been and is, may we strive to make this holiday season brighter and the days ahead better. And may we never forget that our feelings nor our circumstances deter the presence and promises of God: He is always with us and for us. Love Himself is our truest companion.
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.