We returned home tonight from a magical place, where crowns and gowns and magic wands are the rule. I half expected to discover fairy dust when I emptied the suitcases tonight.
Our plane left Florida — sunny, 77 degrees — at 1:20 p.m. Three hours later, the plane dipped below the clouds, revealing a patchwork of Iowa farmfields outlined in snow. At baggage claim, we collected suitcases, bags of souvenirs, a stuffed Pluto. Arms full, we lumbered outside to meet our welcoming party: puddles, rain and a forecast of sleet.
We had one foot in Florida, another in Iowa. With winter coats on our backs, we were still dressed in capris and T-shirts.
How quickly the magic can fade — if we let it.
Four days before our family left for a Disney vacation in Florida, I was in another magical place. I was a servant of the King at a three-day-long women’s spiritual retreat about 15 miles from my home.
On the last day of the retreat, a speaker gave each woman in the room a crown, a sparkling reminder of our place in the Kingdom. I watched from the sidelines as the women, almost in unison, placed the crowns on their heads.
Princesses, they were, in sweatpants and T-shirts and fuzzy slippers. Tears glistened, like royal diamonds.
I spoke with a woman a few minutes later who said she’d never felt closer to God than she did right then — keenly aware that she hadn’t earned her crown. Rather, it was bought for her at Calvary about 2,000 years ago.
She feared, though, that the magic would disappear once she left this place. Would the world convince her that this was no more than a fairy-tale?
Would she look in her suitcase for fairy dust and find nothing but a pile of dirty laundry that needed washing?
Hold on to your crown. That’s what the Bible says. Hold on. It’s a command.
For this is real, you know. The crowns we wear … they’re real.
They remind us of who we are and WHOSE we are. They remind us that we are part of a Kingdom — even if we don’t have glass slippers in the closet.
They remind us that what we experienced on the mountaintop is still with us in the valley. And that’s where we live a lot of the time: in the valley.
Even if circumstances or people — or snow or laundry — try to convince us otherwise, our crowns are real.
I’m holding on to mine. I need it.
Magical, this grace, this crown …
Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. — Rev. 3:11