Every year my grandmother and my mother jointly send me a one pound gift certificate to See's Candy for Christmas.
Those of you who have had the pleasure of tasting these sweet morsels of chocolatey goodness, you know they are the Rolls-Royce of the chocolate world.
As a self proclaimed chocolate addict, there is nothing better than a whole pound of the best chocolates of my choosing.
The only problem is that during the Christmas season we are literally bombarded with other sugary goodies.
The See's becomes just another sweet treat amidst all of the others.
Plus, last Christmas
we the children were off sugar, so we put the certificate on a shelf and all but forgot about it.
And when I say forgot about it, I mean I thought and dreamed about it every single day, but I knew that the moment I redeemed it I would have 16 ounces of my drug of choice literally at my fingertips and I'd lose all control.
I'd hide it from my family and eat it locked in my bedroom until I was sick.
I simply could not bring myself to fall into it's grasp.
As I walked into the tiny corner See's store I was hit with the sweet smell of chocolate that I have come to love about them.
Right as I walked through the doorway I saw a display with Easter candy, marked down to 50% off.
My mind raced!
Two pounds of chocolate all wrapped in Spring time clothes for the price of one!
I found some cute dark chocolate, cream filled eggs with a cute yellow rose bud on top, I could not resist the cuteness.
I bought 4 of them (as gifts) and still had enough left to buy a few of my all time favorites for the ride home.
It was the perfect scenario, because I needed a few small gifts, I could still enjoy a couple of my favorite treats without gorging and becoming sick.
As the cashier bagged my goods and took my payment, she said to me with cheerful sunshine in her voice, "Enjoy your bag of happiness!"
My fist thought was, oh yes, I certainly will!
I thought about that cashier's words all the way home.
If only I really could purchase a bag of happiness.
I'm not talking momentary pleasure that melts away like chocolate in my mouth, I'm talking about the real deal.
The stuff that gets you out of bed in the mornings with a smile on your face, excited to face the day.
The stuff that makes everything better, even when life is hard.
The joy that comes and fills all the broken places in these ever so fragile hearts.
The assurance and peace that lights the days after we lose loved ones.
Not only that, I thought, if only I could buy true happiness and wrap it up in Spring time clothes to give to someone I knew was having a hard time.
Someone I could see struggling with the weight of the world on their shoulders, who just needed a little push into the light.
I could give it to them knowing it would not melt, or fade away, but would wrap their soul in joy that would fill their spirit instead of just their belly and fat cells.
Oh, how much easier life would be if I could buy happiness from a chain store and spread it all around.
If only if it were as easy as giving a gift of fine chocolates.
But the gift of happiness has already been purchased.
It is a gift that is wrapped in the love and hope of Spring time.
It is given to all, free for the taking.
The price was not a gift certificate to a store in the mall, but the blood of Christ and given 3 days later with an empty tomb.
That empty tomb fills my soul with warmth and sunshine and, dare I say the word, happiness.
It has healed too many cracks in my heart to count.
It has dried my bitter tears and brought sweet tears of joy into my eyes.
It gives me the courage to fight the good fight, each and every day.
All because of Him, all because He is risen and promises life and salvation to all who believe.
Because He lives, so do I.