Years ago, when my guys were little, my mother-in-law gave me a remnant of my husband’s childhood. It was a crocheted red and white wall hanging for Advent. There were twenty-four loose pieces of yarn to which I should tie pieces of candy. Then each day the boys would untie a piece of candy and be a day closer to Christmas. It was a way of building up to the true sweetness of Christmas.
One year, though, as I got out all of the Christmas decorations, the red and white wall hanging was ruined, shredded by a family of mice. Everyone was sad to see the end of the wall hanging. The boys were sad because they thought there might not be candy coming their way. I was sad because something special was ruined, and Matt was sad because a precious memory was now lost.
Jesus told us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
The wall hanging was a precious item because of its sentimental value. The yarn was of little material value. But our happiness was not intrinsic to the wall hanging. In fact, we mostly haven’t even noticed its absence.
Christmas has continued to come every year, even without the wall hanging. Christmas continues to come, because Christ came, not because of rituals and traditions. He is the truly treasured present that stays out all year long, even when mice are around.
God has entrusted us with his most precious treasure – people. He asks us to shepherd and mold them into strong disciples, with brave faith and good character.