By Don White
As my wife and I busied ourselves with boxes marked “Christmas,” our toddler was naturally curious about the shiny things inside pouring out upon our dining room table. Cheri went one way, tacking up some colorful item to the wall, and I went another to grab more boxes, leaving our Jenny quite alone with the decorations.
Suddenly I saw her scurry through the kitchen door like a girl on a mission. The two-year-old was just a blur, darting from room to room, making her way toward the back of the house.
I followed and watched as she disappeared and reappeared from darkened rooms, back and forth in the hallway, her little girl ponytail bouncing wildly behind her. As she was scurrying about, I caught a glimpse of a mysterious colorful mass in her arms.
She finally disappeared into our bedroom – the remotest refuge at the end of the hall. When I stepped inside, she quickly hunched over some concealed treasure like a protective mother with a baby. There she sat, her back against our closet door, knees poking up, her tiny arms stretched about a large plastic bag.
I bent over our Jenny, sitting still as a statue, and recognized the treasure she held. Inside the cellophane bag she clutched beneath her tiny fingers was a heap of candy! Actually, it was a string of convincingly colorful plastic candy, a Christmas garland to hang in our home. Striped candy canes with red and green Lifesavers, strung together with peppermint balls the size of tangerines. It was a bundle of candy big enough to fill the dreams of a houseful of children. But it was all plastic.
With wide eyes, Jenny reluctantly surrendered as I gently took the bag from her arms. I opened it and told her to feel the contents. “See,” I said in my softest voice. “It’s not candy; it’s not real.”
In bewildered silence, she put her hands inside, and her delicate fingers squeezed the plastic treats. The treasure of a lifetime – and it was all counterfeit!
There was the trace of a frown, and I was disappointed along with her. I wanted to make it all real with a snap of my fingers. I wanted to always protect her from disappointment.
As the years raced by I can only hope we’ve helped our Jennifer learn the difference between what is truly worth clinging to and what are merely the products of a plastic world. The only way to guard against that kind of disappointment is to truly know the difference between what is real and what is artificial.
Family, love, faith, generosity, and most of all Jesus. That’s the good stuff. That’s the stuff worth clinging to. That is what we carry in our arms, tightly clutching, never to let go.
When you’ve got the real stuff – the stuff that lasts – you don’t dare turn loose.
“Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess 5:21, NKJV).
1. What are the real treasures you want your children and grandchildren to hold dear?
2. Write about a holiday treasure stored away in your home.
3. Write about a “treasure” you stumbled upon as a child.