As I made cookies this weekend, I sipped my bittersweet coffee while I added bittersweet chocolate to both the chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie recipes. There’s an analogy here somewhere…
I like the taste of bittersweet. I drink strong coffee with cream only. The cream soothes the bitter but leaves just enough bitter taste to energize the body. I also love chocolate. I eat mostly the dark stuff.
Under my doctor’s orders I stopped eating chocolate for a while. When I went back to eating chocolate an interesting thing happened. The milk chocolate I usually ate was too sweet. I began with chocolate chips, which was the only semi-sweet chocolate in the house at the time. Ate them right out of the bag I did! That day I entered the dark side of chocolate. Whoa! Who knew…the true bitter of unsweetened chocolate balanced with coco butter and sugar creates a sensation on the tongue.
On the coffee side, as I became a dedicated coffee drinker I found I needed less and less sugar and cream. I wanted to taste the bitter too. I stopped hiding the flavor. I can drink it black but, I still prefer a little sweet (cream) with my bitter.
Life’s journey is tough with lots of disappointments along the way. There have been bitter moments sucking the breath right out of me with pain and fear. 2017 was no exception. I tend to fall back by sugar-coating my life. The sweetness overpowers everything. My life becomes unbalanced from my overly positive facade.
At the beginning of the year I thought I might lose my marriage. The bitterness of hurt and failure eroded my confidence. God guided us in the hard work of rebuilding our relationship. In accepting this path, we found the sweetness of our love for one another.
The health scares this year also took their toll. I placed my hand in my Savior’s and allowed Him to guide me through the bitterness of fear. I found the sweetness of peace as he led through the choices step by tentative step.
This Christmas I taste bitterness in loss and hurt. One of the most bitter is letting go of protecting my children as they grow up. Another is the aging process for both me and my parents. Watching my career slowly slip away also grates at me. The bitter fatigue of the journey wears me down.
But oh the sweet! Finding Christ in the journey with me, the comfort and support of my family, love and honor for my parents, forgiveness, the Holy Spirit carrying me through my pain, the joy of my children’s growth, and beginning to replace my work with my dreams.
This Christmas Eve I ask how I can truly enjoy my Christmas without the bitter and the sweet. I can’t sugarcoat the bitter anymore. When the sweet is overpowering its fake, It doesn’t reflect the journey. It only distracts. I must have both in my life to understand the true gifts of my sweet God.
How truly sweet it is. Without my taste of bitter I really couldn’t appreciate the sensation of the sweet. This is part of what God is to me. Due to sin in our world we live a bitter place. God brings the sweet blessings into my life. Not because of anything I have done, it is simply because he loves me.
I’m finding I like the bittersweet this Christmas. The thought draws me closer to God, in the Spirit and the Man; He loved me enough to take my bitter punishment by giving His Holy Life that I may taste the sweetness of Eternal Life. Had I taken a different path this year, I may not have rediscovered my joy in my Bittersweet Christmas.
Savor your bitter and sweet. May your season be blessed with Joy and Peace. Love,