A woman worn with cares of the world was sitting by the fire, head in hands tearfully looking at the flames. She wondered at her very existence. As tears coursed down her cheeks, she looked to the sky to ask God, Why? As she sighed at the silence that greeted her, she wiped her cheeks. There came a knock at the door. She clasped her bosom and shrank into her seat. Her heart raced in her chest for it was late and no one ever came to her door. She held her breath hoping the visitor would think no one was there. The knock came again. She shrank further down in her chair.
Then a voice, “Mistress, be not afraid, I will not harm you. I have a package for you, a gift perhaps. Please trust me.” She eased to the windowpane in the door and peered through the curtain. There stood a wee small child weathered and worn. The clothes were all tattered and torn. The child had no shoes, hat or mittens. Yet, shivering in the cold and rain, beseeched the maiden, “Please but crack the door to receive the package.”
The maiden asked, “where have you come from, where are your people, why are you out in a night such as this?” The child replied, “my master sent me to bring this package to you. He said only you can receive it and nothing else will do. Please receive this package that I may return to my master and once again sit at his feet and warm myself before his fire.”
The maiden lost her fear and cracked the door a bit. The child held out the package to the maiden but did not venture in. My master told me to tell you, this package was made only for you. Once you open it you will know what to do. She gingerly took the package from the child marveling at her audacity for she should be sore afraid to let the child or anything in.
She closed the door with her foot and eased back to the fire. She torn the sodden wrappings off. What was revealed was an alabaster box. There was a note attached. With shaking hands, she read, what this box contains is good for only one day. You can’t save it or scrimp or be stingy with the contents. All that it contains, you must use up or the rest will fade away.
She opened the box and there was fragrant oil of great price. It was golden like honey and glistened by the fire light. She shifted in her chair and some of the oil spilled over her hands. Oh my, she thought, how warm this ointment feels. As she rubbed the oil into her hands, light began to encompass her. She gazed at the window and the storm had passed. Where there had been tears, she felt the need to laugh. Her energy was renewed. She jumped up quite spry. She downed on some clothes and thought where she might share this marvelous gift of warming oil.
She went to her neighbor who she had never met and called over the fence. “Please come this way, there is something I want you to see!” The neighbor crept slowing toward the fence. Everyone knew this maiden was mean and difficult when met. But the box emitted a glow that was so enticing, the neighbor said, “Oh, I guess just once will be alright.”
All through the day, the maiden ran throughout the town and cross the lands. When the day ended, the box was dry. The maiden went home with a smile on her face and joy in her heart. When she reached the door, there was a note attached.
Dear maiden, you have done your task. Here is the secret of the alabaster box. It was not oil that it contained, it merely stirred you to love and laugh. For what you must learn is one day is all we have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not arrived. To weep and mourn through today is like living in an empty box. Take the oil of life love and laughter and use it up today. For when you empty your box, I your loving God will always lead the way.
If you knew all you had was today, what would you do? Where would you share your oil? What would you forgive for the chance to have the gift of love light and laughter? Remember the maiden, when you share your oil, you will have joy and if given the gift of today tomorrow, God will fill your box once more.