Another Bite In The Cookie, part 4

13 01 2008

This was our first year without our daughter Jackie here on Christmas day.  She married last year, and the in-laws live in Oklahoma.  And it was their well justified turn.

Rather than the lonely Christmas Barbara and I had anticipated, my sister, brother-in-law, and their 3 young progeny joined us and brought much joy.  Especially Carly.

This was Carly’s first year to really get into the Santa thing.  She knew she was supposed to leave a note, so mommy transcribed it for her.  There was the refreshing glass of 2% milk that would surely be a disdainful lukewarm mouthful by the time the jolly old elf arrived.  And then there was the cookies.  Two cookies.  One of which was that perennial holiday favorite, the peanut butter cookie with a Hershey’s kiss in the middle.  Carly sat there, those wonderful, sacred, sugary delights staring her in the eye.  And then it happened.  Her little 4 year old desires could be arrested no longer.  She took a bite out of the cookie.  The adults quickly swooped down on her to wrest away the cookie like a pelican hitting water.  It was bedtime after all, and the cookie curfew had long since passed.  But along with the rejoinders came the bursts of laughter.  We had just witnessed a precious rite that will no doubt one day be recounted to her own children.  She said that she didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to eat the cookie, but no one believed her.  It is fundamentally impossible for a child to overcome such a temptation when it lingers such as the Santa cookie did. 

As a pastor, I see the same thing play out week after week.  The cookie is just too tempting.  We take that bite claiming we didn’t know it was wrong.  We seemed shocked at the reactions of others who pass along quick condemnations.  The cookies linger.  We bite.  For most of us past the age of 4 the problem isn’t the bite, it’s the response.  There are no guilty people in jail…  or in church.  We’ve all been framed, set-up, unfairly stung or mistakenly apprehended.  Why is it so fundamentally hard for us to exercise contrition?  Has our society necessitated personal standing to the point where any frailty or fault becomes unbearable to confess? 

And I write all this as if I myself find it easy to be contrite.  God help us all!  I wonder what impact one or two honestly contrite and confessing Christ-followers might make on the world around them.  I hope we one day find out.




2 responses

13 01 2008

Excellent post.

15 01 2008


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