The joy in the equation


By Gloria Yoder

Have you ever seen an equation that didn’t look equal? I have.

As December keeps winding down, there is the joy and anticipation of celebrating Jesus’ birth. The children are constantly chattering about the upcoming trip to visit Daniel’s family in Ohio over Christmas. Menus and game ideas float around; everyone feels special and loved as we marvel at the greatest gift of all, the Lord Jesus, who rescued us from misery and made it possible to be adopted as God’s dear children.

Okay, so that’s the bright side of the equation. The opposite side droops as we look at Christmas through the eyes of the countless families facing the first holidays minus their loved ones. It doesn’t look fair or equal. How can it be?

Why, just tonight after the children were tucked in bed, I sat across the kitchen table from Daniel when he told me the shocking news of his aunt. She’s still so young, only 63 years old, and now they just discovered she has cancer. Ugh. Ouch. Why?

My mind reeled. Daniel’s family has all won a special place in my heart, and indeed, this dear aunt is no exception. I stared at Daniel in disbelief. “How can it be?” I wondered.

His answer caught me off guard. “That is really what life is about.” I saw his grief yet got a glimpse of the bigger picture he was conveying.

Digesting it, I couldn’t help but see that God created us to have a love relationship with Him, winning souls to Him. In the end, spend an entire eternity with Him.

So in my mind, I’m again seeing this lopsided equation; there are the holidays with joy and laughter, then the drooping side with the heartache many of you are facing. Then I wonder, what would it look like if I would see the entire picture the way our Creator does? Would I perhaps get glimpses of his grace and provision going deeper than I ever knew possible for all who open their heart to Him?

About a year ago, I mentioned a friend of mine, Lucy, fighting thyroid cancer. I am happy to say that she’s doing better, yet the cancer is not entirely gone despite her surgery and all she’s been doing to fight it. Now take this as an inspirational example; her smile is brighter and bigger than it’s ever been before, and I dare say even bigger than anyone else. Her life is a vivid example of God’s provision in an extremely adverse situation. She is not robbed of joy even though she does not know what her next days will hold.

Looking at the equation, I shake my head. The only way I get settled in thinking about the holidays with the lopsided slant is to ask God to help me see it through His eyes.

I marvel at the children’s simple way of adapting and embracing family traditions about the holidays, about life, or what have you. Daniel’s family had a family tradition of making large batches of Amish Christmas caramel corn every December and mailing it to his parents and 15 siblings in Delaware and Iowa. Daniel fondly recalls chipping in with the family project over 20 years. During that time, they blessed their family with caramel corn to be enjoyed at the family gatherings, which they were often unable to attend due to distance.

Let’s all take a moment to thank God for all little blessings, be it family, friends, good food, or even just another moment of life.

Amish Christmas Caramel Corn

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup corn syrup

1 cups brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

12 cups of popped popcorn

Melt butter in a sauce pan, stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Next boil without stirring for five minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and soda.

Pour over freshly popped popcorn, immediately mix well.

Dump into a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan and bake at 225 for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and dump onto a cookie sheet or flat container. Immediately spread out caramel corn to prevent it from sticking together.

Cool completely and put in an air tight container. Enjoy!

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