Special occasions call for special attention.

Way back in the 1960’s grocery stores commonly had promotions to get you to buy your groceries at their establishment.  They gave away “Green Stamps” for each dollar you spent and these were usually pasted into stamp books which after saving up enough could be redeemed at designated stores that had catalogs from which you could choose whatever merchandise you wanted.  This was a great way to get the kids to help.  Give them a sponge to wet the stamps and press into the books and let the fun begin.

Grocery stores also gave away or sold at a small cost, cookware or dish sets with a certain dollar amount of purchased groceries.   This was how my mother obtained her set of china.  I don’t remember how long it took but with each weekly purchase she would bring home a piece of china to add to her set.  The pattern was “Blue Garland” by Haviland and it had dainty blue flowers with silver trim.

Mom collected her china until she had eight full place settings which included dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls, cups and saucers, serving pieces, and a coffee pot with sugar and creamer.  I don’t know if she quit collecting them because she had all she wanted or if they finally stopped offering them and moved on to some other promotion, but she had her set and carefully packed them away for safe keeping.

Mind you, we were not fancy people.  We lived in a trailer on my grandparent’s farm and family dinners were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  We used paper plates and cups because the crowd was so big and who wants to spend the afternoon doing all those dishes? Those holiday dinners were filled with laughter and fun and delicious food that would have tasted good served on anything! I miss those large family dinners with the paper plates and TV trays.

Over the years, the china was loaned out to friends for their own special occasions but I don’t ever remember it being used by our family, and after a while I forgot about it until years later when my parents downsized and the set was offered to me. I was happy to receive it.  It was very special but not so special I wasn’t ever going to put it to use!  I enjoy using the dishes at least once a year and not only does it remind me of Mom, but it reminds me that it’s nice to bring out the best for the best!

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This kind of special treatment doesn’t signify love as much as it shows honor.  The kind of honor that says “I love you and I want you to know I want the best for you. Thank you!” Isn’t that how it is in our relationship with God?  We trust Him and thank Him, and want to give Him the best and do our best in honor and love.  Sometimes we make sacrifices for those we love, not like burnt offerings, but the kind that of sacrifice that involves a giving of ourselves and our time.  Like lovingly washing and drying those special china pieces by hand, and storing them away for the next opportunity of honor.

Love each other.  Honor each other.

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