Love is . . . a Labor – 2 Samuel 24:21-24

We’re celebrating Dad’s birthday today.

I’m engaged in a labor of love, and I knew before I started that it would mean a lot of discomfort on my part. Since my vintage stand mixer retired itself because of its own age-related issues, I’m mixing the batter manually, taking lots of breaks to stretch the arthritic joints in my neck and low back.

I plod through the handwritten recipe. It has been more than a decade since I baked something from scratch. Well, except for a couple pans of cinnamon rolls which I’m not proud of.

Mom made this cake for many of Dad’s birthdays, likely as many as half, before she stopped baking. Her banana cake recipe was his favorite, and he especially appreciated the extra walnut bits she folded into the batter.

In the book of 2nd Samuel there’s a story about the king of Israel wanting a man’s threshing floor in order to build an altar to the Lord. However, the man, Araunah, tried to give it to him free of charge.

“Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

2 Samuel 24:21-24

Dad didn’t expect, or even request, a home-baked birthday cake today. I chose to make him one because I love him. I’m thankful God blessed me with an earthly father who held me in his arms as a newborn and played silly games with me as a child. Who worked extra jobs to provide us a good home, struggled through his frustration in parenting a teen, and mourned his loss as he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.

Yes, he labored and suffered for me because of love. And today I’m working through my pain to bake him a cake.

Kathy Sheldon Davis

May your Christmas be filled with joy and gratitude for the sacrificial gift that our Father in heaven gave to us when he sent Jesus, his dearly loved Son. Merry Christmas!

Marriage Tip #1 – Sneaking Around

I pulled the bottle of wine from its hiding place between the paper bags and the refrigerator and tip-toed down the hall to my office, pausing in front of our bedroom door to make sure my husband was sound asleep. I latched the door behind me, turned on the light, and dug through the clothing in the closet for the treasure I’d buried there.

from stgertz. stockxchng
from stgertz. stockxchng

I’m a sneaky wife.

I’ve known since 1977 that my husband likes fruitcake. His eyes lit up every year when his mother brought hers out for Christmas. It was fine with me they enjoyed their tradition, but I’ve never liked fruitcake. I also have a strong aversion to alcohol, and when I learned her recipe called for embalming it with spirits, well, you can bet I’d never look for an occasion to make fruitcake. Never.

What changed my mind?

This year I wanted to give my husband a gift that cost me something, a gift created to please him alone, and not me. A gift only I could give—my love. And he’d celebrated enough holidays without his favorite treat.

After taking notes from family stories and scouring the internet, I chose a recipe, bought and hid the ingredients, scheduled the baking when I was sure he wouldn’t be around, cleaned up the evidence and stashed the cake in the closet like his grandmother used to do. Later that night I doused it with wine and hoped he wouldn’t smell it in the morning.

Love rules over all.

Love costs whatever I’m willing to pay, and I want to love him completely. However, since he was ill during Christmas and missed our family gatherings, he didn’t feel the extent of my love till several days later. That’s when I appreciated one redeeming quality about fruitcake—it’s longevity.

I ate one of the last pieces tonight so I could wash the container. The other piece is in his lunchbox for work tomorrow, but I should have given him both pieces. I love my husband, and surprising him was lots of fun, but I still have no desire for fruitcake.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis