I love making chocolates at Christmas time.
This year I think I overdid it, though...
I'm not sure how many hundreds of chocolates I made, but I was feeling a bit over it by the end.
We just made maple cream nut balls, chocolate dipped peanut butter balls, Oreo truffles, and Rolo turtles this time, but we did lots of each one.
After serving about half of them at our Christmas music party,
I packaged up boxes for 15 or so of Sam's co-workers.
I'm thinking next year we will reduce our chocolate making a bit and let his co-workers have cookies or something. :)
My favorite one to let little hands help me with is the Rolo turtles--the boys always love making these!
They like to help dip a few, too.
Over the past few months, I've been thinking a lot about how serving and learning to be selfless bring us joy. For me, at least, the joy often doesn't come in the moment of sacrifice. Sometimes it's downright difficult and unpleasant. Sometimes I am giving up something I really want more at the time for something I feel I "should" do, and sometimes I don't have the best attitude about it.
But I recently realized that the promised joy comes later, as a result of the person I become and the relationships I build through selflessness. Dipping chocolates reminded me of this, and I wrote about it on Facebook:
I love making chocolates with my kids every year at Christmas time. It fills me with nostalgia as I remember making chocolates with my mom and my grandma, sitting next to the wood-burning stove in my grandma's tiny farmhouse in rural Idaho, watching her wrinkled hands carefully dip each ball in chocolate. More recently, I think of the few years we spent living close to family when we would gather at my parents' house and work for hours with the kids to make an assortment of treats that we would deliver and enjoy throughout all the holiday festivities.
It wasn't until a year or two ago that my mom mentioned in passing that she really didn't enjoy making chocolates. I was really surprised--all those years we had made chocolates together and she didn't like doing it? She had only been doing it because her mother wanted to and I wanted to. Since that comment, I have been filled with another kind of appreciation every time Christmas time rolls around...an appreciation for the many, many selfless acts of service I have witnessed in my life, including so many from my parents.
I've realized that so often the promised joy associated with selfless service doesn't come in the moment. Sometimes we don't like making the chocolates, so to speak. But as we give of ourselves selflessly, joy eventually comes as a natural by-product of the relationships built and the person we become as a result of that service. Whether we see the full fruits of our labors in this life or not, joy will eventually come to the faithful!
Thank you to all who have rendered such thoughtful acts of service in my life. And a special thank you to those who have given that service when it hasn't been easy, when you've felt burnt out, when it wasn't convenient, or when you've had great needs yourself.