Passing along your best

I have a friend who taught me an important lesson and I want to pass it on to you during this holiday season. She taught me the value of a good china plate.

I have reached the point in life where I don’t need anything. If there is something I really need (versus want) I buy it. What I want is time with my family and friends. Visits. Chats. Week-end trips. Adventures with those I love. Reminders that I am loved and appreciated. Who can put a price on the sacrifice of time?

This Thanksgiving my son Mike, daughter-in-law Stacey and little granddaughters Isabelle and Lillian came from Indiana to spend the holiday with us. They came on Tuesday before Thanksgiving and left the Saturday after. The two local grandkids were usually here, as well as daughter Lori and son-in-law Rich, when not at work. We had four days of sharing, laughter and fun. At one point, Isabelle, who is eight, ran through the kitchen and without stopping said, “I’m having fun Grandma!” What grandmother doesn’t want to hear those words? My heart sang!

Jesus took time to just be with his friends. Mary, Martha and Lazarus are among those he stopped to visit. Imagine, Jesus just stopping by for coffee! I can see the good china cups and plates being dusted off. Jesus was a respected guest, after all.

December is the busiest time of the year, and there are many people that are alone. They may not be lucky like me to have family close by or willing to travel, or to have friends I can drop in on. You know the lonely people. They live in your town, go to your church, or work next to you. This is your chance to be more like Jesus. Give them what is most precious – give them a bit of your time and something more – your friendship on a plate.

Now, for the lesson I learned from my friend. She buys nice plates when she finds them on sale, or at garage sales, and puts them aside. They are her cookie plates. When she wants to gift someone with cookies, she piles the home-bakes on one of the china plates rather than a tin or plastic container. The receiver gets three gifts – cookies and a nice plate they can keep or pass on to someone else. The third gift is being made to feel special enough, friend enough, to deserve the fancy china. I now have my stack of gift plates to share (thank you Loretta!).

December is a great time of year, but a lonely time for many. Share your time. Give some cookies, even if you buy them. And if you feel brave, have someone other than family over for a meal. Invite them to Christmas Eve services and a snack at your house afterward.

Time costs nothing but is precious. Spend it wisely this holiday season. And my beautiful plates cost less than a dollar each, but don’t tell!

Blessings, Regina

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