Please put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny, a ha' penny will do
If you haven't got a ha' penny, then God bless you!
I have been singing this tune for weeks now and at first the kids gave me strange looks and laughed at the funny words. Then they asked me what the words meant. It must be hard for them to imagine not having half a penny to give, at least in this past year when we have been blessed way beyond our daily needs. In turn I as well have been ruminating over these words, pondering what they mean for me specifically this Christmas time. What have I to give and to whom?
The what I figured out quickly. I am sitting here staring at 8 tins filled with chocolate drizzled caramel popcorn. I decided my giving this year would be in the form of a homemade treat. The task of making the popcorn was for sure a labor of love along with a smidgen of bad attitude for having it take so long, frustration over dropping sticky kernels off the tray every time I stirred and anxiety wondering whether the end result would be edible and actually taste at least slightly yummy! The verdict was yes, it's good from what we were able to taste of the fallen particles! Sad to say, the popcorn filled up the tins so perfectly that there is none left for us to officially partake of. That's ok. I have a few people in mind already that the tins are going to but the others are still a mystery to me. I just know I was supposed to make it.
Last night we were sitting at yet again (surprise) the gym waiting for Moriah to finish up gymnastics. My oldest played a game with his other sister and when that was finished he then had a seat and thought. He didn't have anything else along to do so he told me all he could do was think. He started to tear up a bit and I asked him about his thoughts. He said he was thinking about what it would be like if one of us were to die in our family. He then went on to explain that it was my cousin recently dying that made him think of this. I wish I could have reassured him and told him that it would never happen or something else cheery along that vein. I couldn't because I knew I would have been lying to him. But, what I could let him know is that if something were to happen to one of us -the others would make it through. I know this because I have been witness to it in the lives of other people, many times over. It would be hard but somehow we would muddle through it. I didn't let him know that I have similar thoughts at times. I threaten my husband about leaving me with trying to figure out how to do all the household stuff he does and then constantly remind him it wouldn't be a good idea for him to go first. At least not before he gets the new faucet in which by the way is no longer dripping from the top because it has sprouted a hole and is now leaking down the side...
What I do know in my limited vision of life is that God loves us. I sat down and had myself a thinking time as well and tried to recall to mind all the people I knew who had lost loved ones around the Christmas season. The names and faces kept coming. I have prayed for wisdom as to who to give the remaining tins of popcorn to- who I am asked to help remind that there is life before death as well as life after death, in Christ. If we are in Christ there is always life.
I have my son to owe for my thoughts today. He reminded me of the other side of Christmas, the side where it's not all rosy with thoughts of getting wished upon gifts and portraits of complete families in their christmas finery. I only wish I had time and energy to make popcorn for everyone this season who is hurting, lost, alone, displaced, abused, homeless and without. Again, as I have felt in the past I am grieving for all that I know to be good in my life while realizing that there are those who are unable to experience God's love in the form of physical blessings this Christmas time. I know I haven't done all my part as I should and that pains me.
I was so privileged to sing these lyrics just a few weeks ago, " Have you heard about our Jesus, have you heard about his fate..." May the word get out it's not about the gifts or what ration of earthly blessings we have on earth, it's about the gift of life that was given some 2000 plus years ago.