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The Exploding Chocolates

The Exploding Chocolates

The Nazis once tried to kill British Prime Minister Winston Churchill with chocolate.

According to a retrospective in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, “Adolf Hitler’s bomb makers coated explosive devices with a thin layer of rich dark chocolate, then packaged it in expensive-looking black and gold paper. The Germans apparently planned to use secret agents working in Britain to discreetly place the bars—branded as Peters Chocolate—among other luxury items taken into the dining room used by the War Cabinet during the conflict.”

Fortunately, British spies discovered the plot before the chocolate could explode.

This story highlights the power of chocolate and its rich, creamy texture. What better temptation to lure someone into a trap than chocolate?

The world’s love affair with chocolate can be traced back to the Mayans and Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that cacoa beans, which are used to make chocolate, were divine, and their civilization even used the beans as money. That explains why the scientific name for chocolate, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”

When Spanish explorers in the Americas first encountered chocolate in the 1500s, they weren’t impressed. But when Hernan Cortés brought the chocolate drink to King Charles V in 1521—and after changes were made to the recipe, such as adding sugar—the chocolate craze exploded in Europe.

Among the nobility of the 17th century, “no afternoon reception would have been complete without the ritual of serving a cup of hot chocolate, accompanied by fingers of sponge cakes or cookies for dunking,” said National Geographic’s History magazine in its January/February 2016 issue.

Since then, chocolate has become ever present in our culture, filling our shelves, Easter baskets, and Valentine’s Day boxes. But in the early days, chocolate was primarily a drink, not a candy bar, and Joseph Fry is credited with inventing the first chocolate bar in 1847. Ruth Graves Wakefield reportedly created the first chocolate chip cookie around 1938 and sold her recipe to Toll House for one dollar and a lifetime supply of chocolate.

I too love chocolate—and I often love it too much. Dark chocolate has been touted for its health benefits, but too much of anything can be a problem.

Take caffeine, for example. “A little caffeine can jump-start your day, but too much can make you jumpier than a barefoot kid on a hot sidewalk, writes Bob Hostetler in his devotional, The Bard and the Bible. “Even water—which every human needs to survive—can be harmful in large quantities (it’s called hyponatremia or water intoxication—seriously, that’s a real thing). One can desire too much of practically anything.”

I’m in a class this semester studying C.S. Lewis’s classic book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, and we recently sampled Turkish Delight, the candy that was used by the White Witch to tempt Edmund into betraying his brother and sisters. The Turkish Delight was OK, but frankly it was not nearly tasty enough to qualify as a major temptation. The White Witch should have used chocolate.

Of course, the Turkish Delight in the book was enchanted, and “anyone who had tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves,” says The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

This scene is a perfect picture of temptation because so often we will give in to our desires, even when we know they threaten our physical or spiritual well-being. The temptations are like hidden explosives, ready to blow up in our faces when we least expect it.

No wonder temptation makes it into the Lord’s Prayer: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)

Chocolate even found itself at the heart of one of the biggest robberies ever committed by a single person. In 2007, a thief broke into the safety deposit boxes at a bank in Antwerp, Belgium, and made off with a major haul of precious gems. Before the heist, this thief befriended bank staff, and one of the lures that he used to get on good terms with them was none other than … chocolate, of course.

Lead us not into temptation.

History by the Slice Family Activity

Read Luke 4:1-13 and then discuss these questions:

  1. What is the most tempting food for you?
  2. What are other temptations in your life?
  3. What are the best ways to battle temptation?
  4. In the reading from Luke, how was Jesus tempted?
  5. Why did the devil choose these temptations?
  6. Which of those temptations would be the most difficult for you to resist? Why?
  7. How did Jesus resist temptation?

By: Doug Peterson has written 42 books for VeggieTales and is the author of four historical novels: The Disappearing Man, The Puzzle People, The Vanishing Woman, and The Lincoln League. Visit him at www.bydougpeterson.com.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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