Do you remember the old holiday jokes about the fruit cake that has been sufficiently aged and then gifted and then re-gifted, and then perhaps turned into footballs or other flying objects? Perhaps you have a leftover fruitcake from the holidays in your kitchen. Many bad fruitcakes have been created through past generations. Rock-hard ones, bad fruit inside, stale,moldy, fill in the blank – you get the picture.

My mom made fruitcakes during the holidays that customers placed orders for well in advance of Thanksgiving to make sure they got Fannie’s Fruitcake for Christmas. Her recipe included the best candied red and green cherries, fresh walnuts and pecans, peach, grape and strawberry jam, plus touches of cinnamon, cloves,nutmeg and mace. Once the fruitcakes were baked, they were covered with a damp cloth soaked in wine or fruit juice and then placed in a closed metal container to ripen.

The fruitcake, following proper preparation and ripening, was one of Mom’s best selling items in her bakery during the holidays, second only to her famous magical Christmas sugar cookies.

In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus teaches about fruit in peoples lives:“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit…The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

Ingredients and preparation are key. Fruitcake fresh out of the oven isn’t ready to overflow with bursts of flavor that is only created over time in that closed metal container lovingly draped with a dampened cloth. Time and care builds character.

What lies deep inside my heart is good fruit, the seeds of which were planted by my Christian parents years ago. I'm so thankful for the good fruit. Sometimes I simply need to ripen.

Dear God,

Help me to focus on the good fruit in my heart today. Protect me from the evil hard fruitcakes that can only be used in launch contests and destroyed. Soften my heart and build my character so that I might share my best slice of fruitcake and change someone’s perception of who Jesus really is. Help me to be a good fruitcake, seasoned and softened for your service. Amen.

Carole Schumacher

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