I LOVE COOKIES!
I don't necessarily have a sweet tooth. I don't even sweeten my coffee or tea. There are three sweets, however, that I simply cannot resist. A good ice cream (Yes, there is such a thing as bad ice cream! Come to Europe and try the rum-flavored stuff - it's enough to change your view on evil in this world!),homemade dark-chocolate brownies, and a well-baked cookie. Oh, let me say it again.
I LOVE COOKIES!
Since the practice of making cookies is foreign to this land like many of our other American traditions, I had to bring back whatever Christmas cookie cutters I had from the States. I found myself this year trying to be slightly creative with the baking along with my kids who get into the process a little more fervently now themselves. Being a little older, they all have their ideas of what they could do with the yummy morsels before them. One problem. I only have one set of cookie cutters that leave little to the imagination, and squelched the creative vibe going on at our house.
Though we used the cookie cutters for some, we tired quickly of them and got out a glass and began cutting circles to build upon. WHAT FUN! Though I still plan to buy some more cookie cutters once we visit home again, it brought about some major reflection. You see, we baked these cookies and treats for the church staff and close family friends. Going along with the holiday traditions of this land, we are around our church family often this time of year, and as such get into church, religious, theological, and holiday-inspired conversation. I chime in on occasion among the group, but as you would with any gathering of Baptist minds, you have vast and varied opinions on certain subjects, so I limit my input greatly. However, I for one, was tiring of a certain view on tradition at Christmas.
I found myself astonished at this revelation! I love our family traditions! We have many. One of my favorites, is opening a gift on Christmas Eve. Just one. Mom always saved out socks or pajamas for us to open on Christmas Eve. I do the same with my own three. One small gift to whet the appetite of the children. This year was no different. Then on Christmas morning, we all come down to the smell of my homemade cinnamon rolls. We read a passage from Luke chapter 2 and then the 3 children begin their search for the "special ornament" I have hidden as they all lay fast asleep. He who finds the glass ornament, opens the first gift. Again, our tradition was enjoyed and the gaiety lived on.
So why in the world was this opinion about carrying on the proper Christmas traditions getting under my skin? I sat silently and listened as the discussion was about the true meaning of Christmas, and how we must hold true to its real meaning and tradition, and I bit my tongue. Later, I poked fun at my husband about the root of the reason we celebrate Christmas this time of year being pagan, but that at the risk of offending the "brethren" would continue to keep my mouth shut. He smiled and thanked me.
But seriously, I thought of my cookies. The cookies I had just given them on this Christmas day. The unique, mouthwatering yumminess that passed from my hands to theirs with a purpose. That they may enjoy the purpose for which the cookies were made. I truly wanted to stand up and shout to the entire table "But I'm NOT a cookie-cutter cookie!"
Yeah, that would have made things a little awkward. Pastor George would have had a few problems, I think. So, at the risk of sounding like a raving lunatic, I sat in my chair and grinned at the thought of my own reflection.
I asked the Lord to remind me to have a celebratory spirit about his coming to earth for me, every single day.
Nope, I'm no cookie-cutter cookie. Although those cookies are beautiful and uniform, they are not how God made me. He took the time to mold each edge of my being and carefully planned the recipe to his own liking.
Though I will go on having my own Christmas traditions, I hope and pray that my children will not take only what traditions we had here to their own homes, but have the tradition of what makes them unique and special, and exactly what the Master Cookie Maker had in mind. That they would see how traditions are simply expressions of how we enjoy serving and loving him. Oh, may their expressions be most beautiful in his sight! That's the tradition I hope most that they will carry on. In whatever form it may be.
And I hope that anyone who may read this will bask in the joy of knowing that the sweet hands that molded them, eagerly await the form of expression their "tradition" might bring him. He delights in us. What a thought!