On the Saturday before Christmas, I’m finally eating my Christmas cookies with joy in my heart. While I was baking, I ate my fair share of the broken ones. I find it odd that I seem to forget from year to year that the cookies must cool a moment after their time in the heat of my oven or else they will crack apart when I put the spatula under them. I cannot, no I must not, no one can ever get a broken or slightly burnt cookie from my kitchen. However, these cannot go to waste, but if I don’t eat them all at once, they won’t go to my waist either!
Giving them away is more fun, of course, than eating them all myself. If I cook two kinds of muffins and two kinds of cookies, this is way too much food for my small icebox freezer to handle. It needs room for the frozen chicken breasts, frozen fruit, and the frozen pints of ice cream in my favorite flavors of chocolate. Part of the fun of the gift is telling people which are the danger foods on the plate and which are more wholesome. Since I use Splenda, stevia, and whole wheat in everything, even the dangerous foods aren’t as bad as they could be. Saying thank you to folks and saying I care about your health also is a visible way of saying I love and appreciate you. I get a chance to sit and chat with my folks who are still involved in making the world go round. We talk about anything but work! They appreciate the break and I am glad to keep the link forged between us.
Besides I always give to folks who are too busy to bake or too young to know how to do this from scratch. This is a dying art now, home baking. I’ve noticed that people today have fancy kitchens, but never mess them up. They bring in catered foods and pre baked items. Their computer powered ovens are fancy reheaters. This is an example of sending an ICBM to kill a pesky fly.
Into this mix comes the death of an old friend, which was a blessing for him, for death released him from bodily pain and the misery of the mind eating disease of dementia. Now my friend laughs easily again and sings with joy in the heavenly choir. His family is in that shock of grief and loss, which I feel also.
Yesterday would have been my Mother’s 94th birthday if she were still living. I am still making cookies from her cookbook, but I have adjusted her recipes for better health. I think children, no matter what age they are, miss their parents around Christmas. Dad and Mom always enjoyed the secrets of this season, the hiding of gifts, and the anticipatory events that led up to the big event.
People today have an elf on a shelf that moves around. Big deal! One day we went to the woods to cut our tree. We hung the decorations the next day. We were full of energy the next day so Mom made us popcorn galore. What we didn’t eat, we strung on long threads for garlands. This satisfied us for a few days, until the weekend came. We went out again into the countryside to find the thorn bush and the mistletoe. Dad used his hunting rifle to shoot the mistletoe out of its high perch in the treetop. The thorn bush was an easier pick. Once we got the latter home, we painted it white and put gumdrops on the spines. We could eat one each day. The mistletoe was poisonous, so it was beribboned and tacked up over every door in our house and on every chandelier. We were also making Christmas crafts, decorated cookies, and anything else my Mom could think of the keep our hands busy. The year we made the Twelve Days of Christmas tree skirt in sequins and felt was the most over the top we ever got in terms of family production. Mom and I did the lion’s share of this craziness, but my two younger brothers both did at least one bead and sequin decoration. Our early ones were quite elaborate, but as. Christmas closed in, we threw those last days of Christmas together with a minimum of seeds and beads. They were all covered with gifts anyway.
So here I sit, four days before Christmas and three days before Christmas Eve. Handel’s “Messiah” is on the stereo singing, “The glory of The Lord is risen upon thee!” As crazy active as my childhood Christmas used to be, now I most enjoy the quietness of these days at the end of the year. There is a deep stillness that covers the face of the earth. It carries the weight of the whole year with it, along with all the regret and remorse for deeds done and undone. Into this world of darkness comes the light of hope, love, and life: the new birth of a savior, not just for the days of this year, but for all times. Merry Christmas! This is the birthday of the Christ!