The words “boy” and “genius” never really got together for me as a child. There were, however, other words that seemed to be strung together with uncommon regularity. Little phrases like, “Why did you...” and, when adults were speaking to each other and I was the topic, “You’ll never believe...” But “boy” and “genius” never occurred in the same sentence.
I was a gullible kid — believed everything I saw on T.V. and trusted, as truth, every word that came out of an adult’s mouth. There was this particularly misleading commercial that caused me great angst when I found it to be untrue.
It was an advertisement for a toy bubble gum machine. It was supposed to be a ‘60’s version of a piggy bank. You bought the bubble gum machine, bought the little gum balls that went inside, and you used pennies to extract the gum balls from the machine. After a while, the little plastic base of the machine was full of pennies and, all of a sudden, you were rich!
The scene (it’s burned in my memory even today), which was especially misleading, was of a pretty little girl blowing a bubble. She blew this huge and wonderful bubble — and then, when it burst, all these pennies flew out. I watched this with unbridled excitement, completely convinced that it was magic — that the gum balls were special, penny producing candies. I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into some of that magic gum — get my lips around one of those magic bubbles — and be a filthy, penny-rich little kid.
We bought the toy. We bought the bubble gum. I chewed it — got it to just the right bubble producing consistency. I blew a huge bubble. It exploded all over my face. No pennies. Just a mess. I was horribly disappointed. It ruined the next 20 minutes of my life before I snapped out of it, and clothes-pinned a towel around my neck and went out to save the neighborhood from major crime figures like The Joker and The Riddler.
You can imagine how confused I was by Easter. I knew about bunnies — they were cute. I knew about eggs — they were white on every other day of the year and came from chickens. I knew about baskets — they were used to gather things like pecans, dirty clothes, and if constructed of heavy wire and wheels, you put food and stuff in them at the grocery store. But, on this one very confusing day, bunnies, colored eggs, and fancy little straw baskets all came together. The bunny hid the colored eggs, then provided the straw baskets in which to place the bright colored eggs. It was all quite fun — but what possessed this bunny to color eggs — which come from chickens and not bunnies? And, while it was fun to find the eggs, I didn’t really want to eat a colored egg because, if it was the wrong color, what else might be wrong with it?
In 1967, when I was 7 years old and my sisters were 5 and 3, my understanding of Easter began to change. When we arose early on that Easter morning, the bunny had been there. The eggs were all over the house and the baskets were all lined up in a row. But this year, along with the eggs and the candy, there was something else in our baskets. Bibles! Mine was real, artificial leather and everything. It was black, very official looking, and it had my name on it. I was very impressed — but once again, rather confused.
That morning after the Easter egg hunt, we were on our way to church and dad asked us if we knew what Easter was really all about. We were too young to understand things like death and sin and eternity and sacrifice, but the seeds were sown. And every Easter after that — even when the bunny stopped coming and the eggs no longer littered the house, as we drove into town to attend Easter morning worship, dad always asked if we knew what Easter was really all about. As the years went by, we grew into the answer. And all of us, my sisters and their families and me, now know. And it’s a wonderful thing to know.
For you parents, I don’t know how old your children are, but if they’re old enough, put a Bible in their basket this year. Start to tell them what it’s really all about. It just might be the spark that starts a fire in their souls that will change their world forever. And I do mean forever.
But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again. (1 Corinthians 15:20)