Archives For December 2016

Cookies as threads of memory

December 22, 2016 — 4 Comments

I’ve been making them for five decades. I began when I was ten. And I’ve probably eaten more than my own weight in raw dough. Ever since my mother let me loose in the kitchen.

It’s what she did when I was young. It’s what I did as a tween, then teen. What I did when my children were young. What I still do now.

My repertoire has expanded over the years to include peanut butter blossoms (chocolate kiss cookies), anise pizzelles and nut puffs (a harkening back to my children’s Italian heritage), buckeyes, haystacks, cocoa cookies with peanut butter chips, and just added last year, a gingerbread cookie with peanut butter and butterscotch chips (a personal invention).

Primarily, though, there is the chocolate chip cookie. It is the one where I began. It is my mainstay recipe. Continue Reading…

The Parasite of Peace

December 19, 2016 — 1 Comment

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased,” Luke 2:14.

There’s a battle between peace and war. It seems unnecessary to say so. But this season is when peace is to prevail and war is to fade away–at least for a time.

That worked once, at least, but only briefly. In 1914, French, English, and German soldiers called a Christmas truce and even sang in unison. It was a “Silent Night” with harmony in multiple languages.

I remember my mother telling me the story.  For a night, Christmas night, there was peace. “And then the next day, they were out there killing each other again,” she said. Continue Reading…

Emerging from the Cave

December 15, 2016 — 1 Comment

Humans, history says, emerged from a cave. We drew pictures of animals on the walls around us.

A great thinker, Plato, told a story about a man in a cave. This man is bound. Unable to see anything except the shadows cast upon the wall in front of him. He perceives these shadows to be the sum total of reality.

As Plato’s story goes, the man one day escapes his bonds, leaves his cave, and goes out in broad daylight for the first time in his memory. The bright sunlight blinds him. He needs a guide to discern this place, this reality. Continue Reading…

The Ugly Time

December 13, 2016 — 1 Comment

I’ve already heard people complain about the weather. Here’s a new way of looking at the barren winterland.

Mitch Teemley

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I used to consider

late autumn

with its leafless trees

and sullen skies

the ugly time

But then I grew up

and came to understand

its barren beauty

how it saw the loss and longing in me

and sent its moons

to make tunnels through the clouds

and its shivering breezes

to whisper, Yes, we know

but Christmas is coming

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“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,” Gen 2:7. 

God took dust and made a man. We are the descendants of dust. Eternal souls housed in soil.

But the world sees something else. Easily wiped away, forgotten, replaced. Wiped away again next week. That is how some in the world see our human race. But we are more than these houses. Continue Reading…

“Thus says the Lord,
‘A voice is heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
She refuses to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.’” Jer 31:15.

So were the times of Jeremiah and the times into which Jesus Christ was born.

And there were other prophecies. That He would be born in Bethlehem but called a Nazarene. Seemingly contradictory predictions that point to one baby, one child, one man.

That man would be a king. Israel had awaited the Messiah. The people imagined a conquering Messiah. One who would save them from the Romans.

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,” Isaiah 9:6.

It wasn’t that their imaginations were bent to the fantastical. The human imagination seeks relief from oppression. It focuses on the way out. It ignores other signposts. Other prophecies. Continue Reading…

“We are the advent people, waiting for His coming and His coming again. And we are the hope people.” Ann Voskamp

Advent is the season of anticipation. It’s a microcosm of our lives as we await Christ’s return.

But our journey is as though we walk a path through a forest. The trees are beautiful in daylight. But the nights dark. And the distractions are many.

It is easy for us to lose our way. Continue Reading…

Before we have finished wrapping the presents,

Baking the cookies and stuffing the pheasant,

Before we have finished decking the heights,

With shiny adornments and twinkling lights,

Before we have finished all of the chores,

Like cleaning the house and clearing out stores,

 

Before we have finished all that we do,

To make every Christmas special and new,

Let us look back to the Christmas of yore,

When a Baby King came to bring us new life and more. Continue Reading…