Like many small towns of old, we have a special store downtown, when asked, everyone knows. You can ask them if they know just about any other store and the chances are they'll struggle to think of it. NOT the candy (and popcorn in this case) store! It's a must visit for everyone who comes downtown to the historic square to visit. For those of over... well, past 40, they have candy we grew up with. Even candy from the 50's. They have gum balls, taffy, every kind of gummy you can think of, gum, suckers, chocolate everywhere, and an untold number of popcorn flavors.
Our grandson got a golden ticket for Christmas to take a special tour of the candy store downtown, in fact. He guards that with his life!.. The store owner is a great guy who closely resembles Elvis (the younger version). He even dresses up as Elvis for our downtown festivals. I have coined the term for him as 'The Candy Man'. I'm not sure my wife thinks it's too funny, but I like it. Kind of says it all. He greets all the kids handing out free candy, has a great time with people in the store and outside the store. He runs one of the most successful businesses in town.
It all reminds me of the Wonka story and the song by Sammy Davis, Jr. I love the lyrics to that song.. Here's just a few verses below:
Who can take a sunrise (who can take a sunrise)
Who can take tomorrow (who can take tomorrow)
The Candy Man can take a sunrise and make a miracle. He can take our future, separate all the past sorrows, and collect up all the good. He does it by mixing it with Love.. He makes the world taste good. I know it's all about candy, but it's also about joy, fun, and, most of all, how love can change the world. Isn't that the case with God? Isn't it how he changes the world? He takes out the bad and makes the good even better. He gives hope and joy to those who don't have any. He shares the sweetness of His kingdom with anyone who wants to enter in. He's always watching over the children (and we're His children) to be sure they have just what they need.
Some see God only as the Candy Man who is just there to give them sweets and make them happy, though. He does that all well but, in the process of life, He never promises that we would be without pain or suffering; only that He would be there to make it better. When people say, 'why did God let that happen?' I have to look at the world with so much hate, anger, and evil and think He's heartbroken about it. He gave us the greatest gift of all; the gift of free will. But as great as this is, it's also the reason bad things happen.
So, what about the child who comes into the store from a poor family with no money like the boy in the Wonka story? He worked and saved but, all the while, was helping to provide for his family. His one dream was to see the Wonka factory and meet Willy Wonka. Yet, after getting there and making it to the end, he almost lost it all with a silly decision to break the rules in exchange for some fun. The candy man was going to kick him out without any reward, but when he was honest about the gobstopper and willing to give that up, he found forgiveness along with the keys to the factory.
That is where we meet God. We all make silly choices to bend the rules, to do our own thing, and to trade something good for something, we think, is better which eventually hurts us (and others). Yet, when we come to a point of humility and ask Him for forgiveness, He is 'faithful and just' to forgive us. He runs to us and welcomes us home with open arms. People wonder why I'm a Christian. THAT is the reason. His willingness to love me no matter what. For that, He can have my gobstoppers! I'll exchange all them to be able to share life with Him.
Tonight, the eternal 'Candy Man' is calling us all to His candy store. He wants to bring us joy, peace, healing, and take out the bad & replace it with His goodness by mixing it all with Love... That's a candy store I want to visit every day!..
Wishing you all love filled day tomorrow friends!
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