The beginning of the holiday season always brings to mind memories of popcorn balls, caramel apples, and old-fashioned homemade candies of all kinds.
Did you ever pull taffy as a child? Homemade pulled taffy was quite a production. Not only did we have to get the ingredients to just the right temperature, but to get the desired results we had to pull it while it was still hot. With well-buttered hands we’d tentatively grab a chunk of the taffy, knowing that it may burn a bit, but eager to see the golden ropes twist and lighten and reach absolute perfection before cooling. This thrilling process was a large part of the enjoyment of this precious confection, and it was absolutely necessary in order to change the sugar mixture into the candy of our dreams.
Have you ever felt a bit pulled and twisted during the holidays just like that sweet candy?
The annual holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve bring with them not only warm memories, but a generous helping of stress, as well. The demands and expectations from family, friends, and even ourselves, can make us feel pulled in several directions at once as we try to create delicious, golden experiences.
That wise ancient, the Apostle Paul, advises us to practice having contentment in all circumstances.
… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.Philippians 4:11
He says he learned to be content and he faced some pretty harrowing circumstances. In his letters he explains that he was able to be content because he always “kept his eye on the prize,” the delightful reward he looked forward to, while trusting the Lord to take care of the details.
If I can follow his example this year, perhaps I can avoid the stress and worry of this busy season. I can practice contentment in the journey, anticipating the joy and peace of the season, without getting caught up in trying to replicate some nostalgic perfection.
Just as with the taffy of yesteryear, trying to force circumstances into some perfect fantasy can result in burnt fingers. Be content to let the days roll by, focusing on what is truly important this year, and you may have a sweet, stress-free reward.