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Tuesday, December 20 (Suggested Reading I John 3:1)

Every year around Christmas time, one of my favorite things to do is to make homemade marshmallows. They are fun to make, relatively easy, they taste really good, and many people find them to be a fun treat.  On the downside, they are pretty messy, and they rarely turn out like the perfect cloud-like squares I always envision them to be.  The kitchen is usually in a mess with drips of hardened sugar syrup that has to be cleaned up and a dusting of powdered sugar ends up everywhere.  Still, I enjoy making them because I enjoy making people happy. And it’s cool and it’s fun.

Until this year. This year a friend of mine asked me repeatedly, “Who does such a thing? Can’t you just buy them in the store? Why would you make marshmallows when they are so easily accessible?”  When I made pretty little chocolate covered peppermint flavored marshmallows for another friend, it was the same thing. Someone actually called me “peculiar.”

And for the first time, I felt very silly. I felt that this one thing that I thought I was doing to bring joy to someone, this thing that began in my heart as a labor of love, was just a bone-headed waste of time and effort. That by going to such trouble, I was actually imposing my own time-suck Christmas craft on people instead of truly gifting them with a labor of love. Boy, if that doesn’t take the glitter off a girl’s tinsel….

In I John 3:1, the Bible says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” And how did God lavish His love on us? Throughout the Scriptures we learn that he did that by sending His only Son to be born of a virgin, to live a sinless life, and to die in my place on the cross. When I was still a sinner, still His enemy, still trying to use my own efforts to earn His favor, He gently moved me out of His way and redeemed me. He made me His child, He brought me into His family, not as a second cousin, or as a great-great niece, but as a daughter of the King of Kings. His daughter.

And we are to reflect His love for us by showing lavish love to one another. So how do we do this? I think that we are to start by being truly attentive to one another, really listening, really watching, hearing the hearts of our brothers and sisters. And then, just act- in lavish, love-overflowing ways. When we have a heart filled with love for Jesus, when we have a desire to be His hands and feet, He will give us the wisdom, the wherewithal, and the joy to serve one another for His sake as we wait for Him to return for us.

So no, there will probably not be any more marshmallows or other goodies coming out of my kitchen, but I will find other ways to help others find joy in the seasons of their lives. What are some ways that you will reach out to lavish the love of God on others, to overwhelm them with the love of the Savior?