In my newest book The Complete Love Circle, it opens with the following story and it got me thinking about Christmas.
The Pearl Story:
A little girl, 4 years old out shopping with her mom at the local department store. They got near the checkout area which was filled with various kinds of kids treasures and candy placed at eye level to draw all children’s attention.
The little 4 year old spotted a plastic pearl necklace hanging right in front of her face.
“Ohhh, can I get this mommy? Please can I get this?” she exclaims.
“Not today honey,” Mommy answered, placing her groceries up onto the conveyor belt.
“But I love it. Please mommy, pl…ease!”
“Not today mommy said.”
“I want it Mommy please!”
“Tell you what,” Mommy countered back, “why don’t we leave it today, and you can do some jobs around the house and earn the money to buy it. When you have enough money saved, we can come back and buy it. Okay?”
Sadly the little girl looked longingly at the pearls but nodded her okay with her head.
The little girl worked hard around the house and earned the money for the pearls in 3 weeks. They went back to the store to purchase the plastic pearl necklace.
True to her word the little girl “loved” the necklace and wore her plastic pearls every day. Faithfully every night she would slide them off her neck and carefully place them beside her bed before she went to sleep.
Daddy would come in and say prayers with her and kiss her good night. One night daddy said to her, “Honey, would you give Daddy your pearls?”
Shocked at the question the little girl wide eyed with amazement just shook her head and answered, “No Daddy, oh no!”
Daddy just smiled and kissed her good night saying, “That’s okay honey. Have a good sleep. ”
Every night Daddy came in to say good night and at least once a week he would throw out the same question, “Honey would you give Daddy your pearls?”
Each time the answer was the same. This continued on for about 2 months.
One night Daddy came into the bedroom and the little girl was sitting on her bed sobbing.
“Honey what is the matter?” Daddy rushed over to her concerned.
“Ohhhh Daddy….. here,” the little girl choked out amidst the sobs, she thrust out her little hands and lifted up her pearl necklace to give to her treasured possession to her Daddy.
What the little girl did not see was that each time Daddy asked her if he could have her pearls, his left hand always slid into his pocket on his pants. Tonight as Daddy reached out with his right hand to take the offered up plastic pearls, his left hand came out of the pocket with a small but long and slender box that had been in his pocket each night he came into say good night.
“Honey,” Daddy said, “Daddy loves you so much, I never wanted you to have plastic pearls, you are much too precious to me, I want you to have “real” pearls,” and he placed the new box with the new and precious pearl necklace into her hands. *
God never has plastic for us, never the imitation, He has true treasures and He is waiting to give them to us. Perhaps we do not recognize them or see them as important.
Like a lot of things in life, Christmas can be one of those times, I get caught up in the plastic Christmas instead of the real. I start thinking of all the things yet to do on my to do list and wonder if I will be able to get “all” those things done in time.
My list: make a list, shop for presents, bake the sought after Christmas treats, write my cards, mail my cards, decorate the house and the tree, wrap the presents and get the best and biggest turkey….
I tend to forget that Christmas will come whether or not I am ready; because Christmas is not about me or my list at all.
I like to substitute my choices, my plastic pearls into my Christmas plans, thinking they are the “real” thing. But God, God wants us to have only the real, precious and priceless treasures.
God’s version of Christmas was a baby born in a stable to an unwed teenager while she and her fiance were on a trip to another city. It was a pretty big deal to God and so He sent out His angels, His heavenly host, to go tell folks about it. God sent them to the shepherds , those smelly guys out watching the sheep in the fields. He never told the Mayor, the important business people, the church or the surrounding neighbors; and yet, this baby would change the world for all eternity. A true treasure.
It got me to thinking that perhaps, my version of what seems important at this time of year, truly isn’t. What's your Christmas based on real or imitation?
*Excerpt from: The Complete Love Circle - A Bible Study, Jane Wheeler, 2017