Okay, I have a confession to make. But first, I have a pre-confession: I will be somewhat silly today so read at your own risk. You may encounter a rambling narrative not at all what you’d think from your Harvardian minister. “What!” you may exclaim. “Is Reverend Hoxey on some sort of blood thinner? I think all the snow and cold last month have gone to his head.” Perhaps, but stay-tuned and I promise to try and make sense of all this.
If we can’t have fun then we can’t have much of anything. So, now that you have the confession before the confession, the admission of a bit of levity, let’s get to something resembling a point. My main confession is not some deep, dark secret. Rather, my confession is something that summons February. Ah, my beloved February. Here we have a second month out of twelve that involves much candy. Yes, like October with Halloween so also is February a sweet month, in this instance due to Valentines Day. Uh, not that the historic St. Valentine is our topic. No, that would be far too dry a way to celebrate his namesake day. Rather, I’m moving on to other things if your patience will permit.
In short, my confession is a confection, a delight from my childhood in the form of a diminutive pinkish heart with purple food-colored ink spelling “LOVE IT.” I plop it in my mouth hopeful that the slightest waft of artificial flavor will stimulate my taste buds with a tinge of pseudo-berry. I take it in, at first immersing then making that irresistible first crunch that releases mini-boulders of chewy bits. In a flurry, one piece follows another, a palette of muted & pastel-colored candy hearts with one or two-word pithy sayings, each writ hue promising a variant flavor: The lavender colors usher a licorice-flavored delight; the yellow ones summon a lemony tartness even as orange pieces purvey a skewed citrus. Bit after bit, piece after piece, then the entire clear plastic bag is but a chalky, crunchy memory.
Today I seldom indulge my old sweet habit of bagged heart candy but there’s more to this. Come on, you knew it was coming, didn’t you? I mean, what started out as a largely innocent recollection of kiddie delight had to be pushed along into something religious, especially since I’m a minister writing an article for the church monthly newsletter.
Well, even if February sits in January’s cold shadow there’s still something worth celebrating. Sweet tooth aside, let’s consider February as a time to savor the sweetness of our faith. As weak an analogy as this may be, I’m gonna run with it. Sure, enjoy the candy if you must but my plea involves the grandest sweep of colors, textures, and flavors, all from our Savior. Heavy stuff; not just desserts.
As exhausted or perplexed from my narrative as you may be, consider all that God is doing for you and for me. Meter and metric, rhymes not astride, what doth delight you, confessing confections aside. So I’m not a poet and still don’t know it. Back to the spiritual meaning must I now return. My prayer is thus: Take in what blessings God is offering and embrace our shortest month of the year. And did I mention love? Of course, getting back to that trite slogan on my pink candy heart really pays-off. It can now stand for something far greater than a machine-printed message, surpassing a moment’s amused distraction. LOVE IT now becomes a most special invitation.
Now the preachy bits. Cherish what God has done for you. Your faith, for one; your salvation, for another. Take heart my friends, and be of good cheer. We are blessed to have God and even more so when we take in the divine through heaven’s light and life. All the splendid shades and colors and tastes and flavors remind us of how best to immerse ourselves into universal joy and happiness. Far more than a sweet tooth is a sweet life, made possible by God’s love and truth, multiplied when we take what is otherwise bagged and mundane and transform it through the renewing of our . . . taste for something greater!
And you thought February was a dull subject. Rise up my friends, seize the day before something or someone seizes you. Be mindful of even the simplest of pleasures and don’t quit trying to find new ways of appreciating blessings old and new. Cold and snow, dark and the bite, winter’s still here but move on and still fight. Join me in celebrating life. Embrace it. Savor it. Share it. Far more than bagged candy will be your reward. And you won’t get cavities or indigestion from feeding your spirit. God’s own presence dwells within you and we should act like it. You get it, so ‘nuff said.
A soothsayer warned Julius Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March.” We’re not in that month yet, but whatever portends a foreboding on your horizon doesn’t stand a chance if you’re with God and if God is with you. And you are—or can be—and yes, God is ready to be with you. Enjoy this month my good sisters and brothers. Shout, and speak, and write all that God is doing for you. Announce to the world that there is no delight comparable as to that which comes from celebrating our life in the Kingdom.