Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Day After Christmas

Every Christmas season starts out with good intentions.  This year we will bake cookies.  This year we will finish our shopping early.  This year we will do Advent Readings.

Yet Christmas Eve I found myself buying ingredients for pecan pie and stocking-stuffers amid other last-minute shoppers and football game traffic.  Fast forward to see me and the hubby baking aforementioned pie and stuffing said stockings late that night while the children were nestled all snug in their beds.

And the Christmas cookies?  I really tried.  Promise. But I left the dough out too long and it stuck to the counter.  We managed a few cut outs that looked more like Gingerbread poop than Gingerbread men before deciding to postpone the cookie-making until later.  Later never came.

As far as Advent Readings go, I read two.  Which is one more than last year.  So there's hope, right?

To be honest with you, this year I've wrestled with the idea of how we celebrate Christmas.  Of how we buy gifts and from whom and to whom we give them.  Of whether the way we celebrate is the way Jesus would want us to celebrate Christmas.

Seeing my children's excitement when opening long-awaited gifts shifted my view a bit.  Their childlike anticipation and joy reminded me that Christmas isn't only a time to reflect, but also to celebrate.  Waiting over. Promise fulfilled.  Who better than children to remind us how to party?

I know that Christmas isn't Jesus's "real" birthday. I know about the pagan roots, etc, etc.  But it's the time that we've decided to remember His birth.  And isn't it right that we should do so?  We set aside time for our birthdays and anniversaries, veterans, presidents, and patriotic holidays.  In the Bible the Israelites set aside time to remember and to celebrate important events.  And they celebrated.  And feasted.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't remember Jesus's birth every day and live in a way that lines up with our faith.  I'm not saying that we should give in such excess that we dig ourselves into debt.  I don't think it's all about giving or getting the nicest, newest, latest "toy" that Plastic Inc. produces.  However, giving thoughtfully and lovingly to our family and friends and giving generously to those who have not seems like a fitting way to honor a King who told us to have faith like a child.

This year I'm baking Christmas cookies the day after Christmas.  And mailing a few cards.  After all the waiting and preparing and anticipation of Christmas, one day seems too little for celebration, as if it's an all-or-nothing, now-or-never, let's-move-on-to-next-year event.  The Son of God came to Earth!  I think we'll celebrate all week.

Here are some yummy recipes for those of you who procrastinate or lack time-task judgement like me...

Pecan Pie (no corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils)
Gingerbread People
Pumpkin Pecan Snickerdoodles
Rum Balls
Chocolate Truffles
Sugar Cookies

Note: If you're interested in making your chocolate recipes with fair-trade chocolate or want to know why you would want to, find more information here.