Sunday, December 14, 2008

Take It This Instant!

Take It

A chocolate fountain is a thing to behold. Dripping with delight and surrounded by fruit chunks, white marshmallows, and salty pretzels for dipping, this simple work of art is a natural beauty.

To make proper use of it, you must exert some effort. First, make a quick stab of your fondue fork into the snack of your choice. Secure it. Then aim the fondue wand under the steady stream of shiny brown liquid. Let it pour down and around your sweet or savory morsel. Watch wave upon glorious wave flow over and around your treat. Blink frequently to fight hypnosis. Finally, remove wand from the liquid stream of joy, close eyes, insert deliciousness into mouth, and repeat.

The thing that makes a chocolate fountain so truly lovely is that it flows. It is not merely a bowl of liquid chocolate. Nor is it a stick of hard Ghirardelli. It is instead a lively stream of goodness that falls from top to bottom, and then – magically, in my non-mechanical mind – circulates back up to the top in order to continue flowing. This cycle of chocolate is successful because the fountain has mastered the fine art of giving and taking.

If it did not properly balance the two – say it “took” too much – then all the chocolate would disappear into the holes. It would not “give” the chocolate back to the top so that it could flow down again. Or, if the fountain “gave” too much – and the “taking” holes at the bottom were plugged – the bowl would overflow and chocolate would spill onto the table. Without a proper “give and take” balance, you have nothing but a sticky mess.

This Christmas season, how is your “give and take” balance? Are you giving out of the overflow of your heart? Are you extending the kind of love that offers forgiveness, heals brokenness, and restores relationships? And … amidst all of your “thank you’s,” are you truly receiving?

You may give all you want this Christmas. But it’s whether or not you take that matters. Because if you refuse the greatest Gift ever offered, something must be done with it. A rejected gift must be returned. And when this one is returned, it’s done so at the expense of your very soul. It’s a mess that can be avoided … if only you practice the simple art of humble acceptance.

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6