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  • Shawn Thornton

Popsicle Sticks and Butter Lids

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Friday - December 17th

Scripture to Read Today: Psalm 34:15-20


The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

-Psalm 34:18

Every year she put them on the tree. They were ugly and awful. They faded and fell apart a little bit more each season. Don't get me wrong - they never were that great, to begin with. Each looked like a child had made them - a child with little artistic ability whatsoever.

What were they? They were Christmas tree ornaments that my brother and I made in various elementary school and Sunday School classes. They were the typical childhood crafts made with popsicle sticks, plastic butter container lids, pipe cleaners, and empty toilet paper rolls. One I made in first grade had a basic stable frame made of popsicle sticks. Another one Troy had made with a snowflake sketched out on the mostly clear butter container lid. Several others we had made landed each year on our family Christmas tree.

My mom valued these ornaments over all of the others. To her, they represented the art of her two precious sons. A glass ball ornament could break, or a strand of lights go out, and mom would simply have dad throw them away. She had little or no emotional connection with these decorations.

But if one popsicle stick came unglued or one string holding an ornament, one of us had crafted, broke, mom took it personally. She needed it to be repaired if it could be fixed. If it could not be fixed, she might tape or staple something together and put the worn-out ornament we had created back on the tree. She would not part with some broken ornament that one of her sons had made - no matter how ugly, awful, and pitiful the broken thing looked.

Mom loved us and our handmade gifts no matter how broken we, or they, were. When God sent His Son to a stable in Bethlehem, he sent His very best. In our brokenness, Jesus came to save and restore us. God embraced us in our sin and shame. He sent Jesus to embrace the overlooked, the broken, those with lives deemed a bit ugly.

Thank God that my mom cherished our broken, faded handmade ornaments. Thank God that Jesus came for us in our brokenness!


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