It’s the final days of Advent and the big rush to get ready for Christmas is on. In the middle of this rush, we need to take the time for God, He can enlighten us in the simplest of ways, as long as our hearts and minds are open to Him.
Baking and Christmas, for me, go hand-in-hand. I have had to cut down from the seven different kinds of cookies I make, since being a remote worker means I no longer have an office to distribute the goodies, but there’s still plenty that I make and give as gifts. I always challenge myself to try one new recipe each year and over the years the other varieties have changed from what I originally made. In my first apartment on my own, I made the same recipes my Mom did and that I liked. Now there are only two that are from my childhood. While I don’t remember which Christmas my Mom gave me her Mirro Cooky Press (no that’s not a typo, that’s actually how they spelled it), I have been making the spritz cookies each year ever since; that’s probably about half my lifetime. Over that timeframe I learned my one brother-in-law, who isn’t overly fond of cookies, actually liked them and would choose to eat them. Each year he gets a whole tin of spritz cookies from me.
As I was pressing the cookies out, I became nostalgic thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve been making these cookies. While I have learned many lessons about being efficient in making them, the process is far from perfect. It seems the first few cookies just refuse to stick to the cookie sheet, requiring my intervention. Sometimes that means just a little coaxing to cut the dough from the press and the shape looks like what it’s supposed to be, a wreath. Others are very stubborn and I end up with little pieces that I do my best to reassemble. Some do come out nicely and cut well with a simple twist of the press. I noticed this year that even the nice ones needed a bit of “hands-on” from me — tapping down the pointed tips that are formed when the press is lifted up. “What a needy bunch I have this year, “ I thought, “always wanting a bit more love from their maker.” It was this thought that made me think of my Maker and what kind of cookie I am to Him? Am I the kind that He has to reassemble, or am I more like the ones that just need the rough edges smoothed out?
There are times, as I slide the cookie sheet into the oven, that I wonder how many nice cookies I’ll have, and will I have enough to package up in gifts? In terms of volume, there are plenty to give away, but one wants to give out the nice ones, not the misshapen ones. There is a bit of baking magic that happens in the oven, as only the most difficult ones are the oddballs of the batch. Yet, those oddballs taste every bit as good as their prettier neighbors. The gift packages may not win any baking consistency championships, but somehow with the red and green sugars sparkling on them, the majority of the spritz cookies convey my love and the spirit of Christmas. Isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas: the Love of God takes human form to restore our relationship with our Maker through the Holy Spirit? Won’t we one day sparkle and shine in heaven after our rough spots are smoothed out and our imperfections removed in purgatory?
The oddball of the first batch is my quality assurance tester. Again, I am amazed that a few simple ingredients can come together and make music in my mouth. I wonder if God feels similar whenever we choose to do His will and assist others in their needs?
I never realized how much we are like cookies: we are all beautiful in our own unique way and tasty too! We should never give up on the oddballs, since God doesn’t either. Lastly, we need to be open to God to allow Him to reveal Himself to us in all the little things we do. May you and yours celebrate Christmas with the love and sparkle of the Spirit!