Growing up, my family lived frugally, as my parents instilled in my sister and me the value of a dollar and the importance of tithing. For this reason, we were not privy to getting a candy bar each time we went to the store with our mom. Now, this was different if we went with our dad, but those are times I can count on one hand. So for us, getting candy at the store was a special treat.
In 1989 Underground Atlanta reopened with revamped space and new retail shopping stores. Living in a suburb of Atlanta, my family planned a trip into the city to check it out. My ten-year-old eyes lit up at all the lights and excitement that comes with taking a trip into a big city.
As we were strolling through the shops and sight-seeing, we happened upon a store that was unlike any I had ever seen before. There was candy everywhere! It was lined on all the walls and on tables in the center of the store, rows upon rows of those glass jars with the silver lids covering each surface. I had never seen so much candy in all my life. There were some varieties of candy I had never seen at all. The smell in the shop was so sweet and all the colors of the candies were like a rainbow before my very eyes.
To my sister’s and my astonishment, our parents handed us each a bag and turned us loose! I could not believe it! I took my time to scope out just which varieties of candy I wanted to put in my brown paper sack. After a length of time, our bags were filled and ready to be weighed, which was the key to unlocking eating all those goodies!
The candies I remember most in my bag were those rock candies on a wooden stick with the wooden ball at the bottom of the stick and gummy coke bottles. All of it was so delicious and treasured; we were so grateful. My sister and I tasted so much sweetness on our car ride back to Norcross.
Once home, I did not want to leave my candy bag out in the open where it could be eaten swiftly, or shared with others. I wanted to savor it, eating a little each day to make it last as long as I could. In the top of my bedroom closet, I had a Hello Kitty suitcase, which was one of my prized possessions. This is where I chose to stash my bag of sweets. My plan worked! I made that candy last so long that sadly, I ended up throwing the last bit away that just got too old to enjoy. So much for that plan.
Around this time of year, you will see marquee signs of churches everywhere sharing about their “Trunk or Treat” events. Churches give out sweet confections in an effort to invite passersbys to their church. They are hoping to make a connection with people in their community that would lead a person to come back on a Sunday. Why would they do this? They do so because they themselves know just how good it is to have a relationship with God and to fellowship and worship together. They know what the psalmist writes when he shares in Psalms 34:8, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
For me, knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior is sweeter than all the candy in that Underground Atlanta candy shop. His saving grace lasts longer than candy and it does not have to be stored up, it is free and available to anyone who seeks. In the coming weeks when you see signs for “Trunk or Treat” events, think instead “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” for he is indeed good. Just like one must taste for oneself a food item to see if it is liked, one must experience Jesus for oneself. Once you do, you will also understand what the psalmist meant, and you will want to share the goodness with others too! If you have not already, taste for yourself and see that the Lord is good.