O taste and see that the Lord is good.
As we allow our senses to guide us into this third week of Advent, here’s a question to ponder: What does Christmas taste like? During this time of the year, the sense of taste, like that of hearing, quickly stirs our memories. We can easily let those memories take us down the road of nostalgia—that longing for a time when things were simpler. Spend too much time on that road, and you can end up sad. But a little time there can be good, for maybe such travel can land you in the state of gratefulness.
I grew up the son of a Southern Baptist preacher. The churches my father served took good care of our family throughout the entire year, but there was something about the Christmas season that always compelled folks to express a little extra gratitude for a job that can be quite unsung. And while there were a few years when my parents were presented with “money trees,” we could always count on Saran-wrapped gifts from the kitchens of the faithful. As I reflect on those times now, it seems the tastes may have been the greater gifts.
There were the homemade treats from outside our home, and then there were those from my mother’s hands. If you were to ask me what Christmas tastes like, I’d say, “pumpkin bread.” For as long as I can remember, she baked that bread every Christmas season without fail. My brother and I loved it. The recipe she used called for lots of sugar and canned pumpkin and cooking oil, and, well, it wouldn’t score high in our current healthy food culture. But on the delicious-scale, it performed amazingly. And more importantly, on the love-scale, it was off the charts.
Now, you may be a chef extraordinaire. But maybe you’re like me—a wannabe who ends up needing a bit of help. But regardless of your baking skills, here’s a suggestion: Dig back deep into your memory to a favorite Christmas taste and find the recipe. If you don’t have the recipe, then you might have to call or email a family member or friend—I bet they’d be thrilled to hear from you. Once you’ve got it, make it. If you’re single, invite a friend or two to help. If you have children, get the whole gang involved. And as you’re baking or cooking, be sure and talk about where the recipe came from, and why it means something to you. And give thanks.
One other thought: Once you’ve prepared the treat, why not drop by your pastor’s house and share the love? Take it from an old preacher’s kid, it’ll mean more than you know.
Prayer: Our Father who is always near, thank You for our daily bread. And thank You for the “seasonal breads” that are such a part of this time of year, those creations that cause us to pause and remember the faces and hands that have gifted us with love over the years. Amen.